Negros Occidental orders arrest of 7 persons who refused swab test

By: Carla Gomez - Philippine Daily Inquirer | September 19,2020 - 02:06 PM

BACOLOD CITY — The Negros Occidental provincial government has ordered the arrest of seven people who refused to undergo a swab test for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) upon their entry in the province.

The seven, who considered themselves as authorized persons outside residence (Apor), arrived in the province through Bacolod-Silay Airport on Tuesday.

At the airport, they were asked to submit to the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for COVID-19, a requirement for all individuals entering Negros Occidental, but the seven allegedly refused, claiming they had permission to enter Bacolod City and carried a “certification” signed by a city councilor.

The seven immediately left on board private vehicles, according to Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz.

“We will have them located and arrested,” Diaz said.

Four of the Apor carried certifications that they were employees of a land surveying company while three worked for a cable firm, he said.

On Thursday night, four of the seven were located, taken into custody and were now placed in a quarantine facility in Bacolod City, according to Police Maj. Edison Garcia, spokesperson of the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office.

The remaining three were still being located, said Garcia.

Also being located were five Bacolodnons who tested positive for COVID-19 during the Aug. 28 to Aug. 29 mass testing who could not be found until now.

Bacolod City Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran said the five individuals gave fictitious names, one of whom even used the name of a dead person.

Familiaran, chair of the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19, said the police, who were helping the city in contact tracing efforts and in bringing patients from their residences to isolation facilities, tried to check their names with the Commission on Elections and the Land Transportation Office but were told that the names did not exist.

“The quarantine period of these five individuals may have already lapsed but what if they have infected other people like their families?” he said.

Of the 4,384 Bacolodnons who had participated in the mass testing, 531 tested positive for the virus.

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