Co-passengers of new COVID variant ‘patient zero’ rejecting DOH calls warned of sanctions, fines

Image screen capture from YT video
  • The DOH warned the other co-passengers who refused to coordinate with them
  • They could face fines and imprisonment if they continue to reject their calls
  • So far, 146 of the 159 co-passengers have already been contacted

The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the other passengers who were in the same flight with the Filipino traveler who was detected with the new COVID variant recently that they could face fines, even jail time, if they continue to refuse to coordinate with the authorities.

On Thursday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire revealed that they have already contacted 92% of the passengers, or 146 of the total 159 excluding the male patient.

Imahe mula sa PNA

However, the remaining 13 supposedly rejected the calls of the contact tracing team assigned to coordinate with, for whatever reasons.

Vergeire said some rejected or refused to take their calls while others may have given a wrong contact number, for which they could face sanctions.

“We have a law. Republic Act 11332. Within this law, stated ‘yan sa mga provisions na kapag may [it’s stated that during] public health emergency you need to cooperate with government whether it be for quarantine, for isolation, for contact tracing, for testing,” Vergeire explained.

Under the law, those found to have violated this provision could be slapped with fines ranging from P20,000 to P50,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both, depending on the court’s discretion.

The Health official also assured that those who have been contacted are now either undergoing quarantine in a local isolation facility or under home quarantine.

All of them were also subjected to swab testing and their specimen will be submitted for genome sequencing to determine if they are infected with the new COVID variant.

Image from PNA

The country’s new COVID variant ‘patient zero’ is a 29-year-old male real estate agent residing in Kamuning, Quezon City. He traveled with his girlfriend to Dubai last December 27 and flew back to the country this January 7.

He was immediately brought upon arrival to an undisclosed isolation facility where he was tested positive for the UK variant of the virus.

The QC government maintained he never set foot in his home in Kamuning after his travel to allay fears of possible local transmission.