No isolation exemption for Covid-19 patients on May 9

General

The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday reiterated that coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients are not allowed to go outside while still in isolation and this would apply even on election day.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje cited Republic Act No. 11332 which penalizes non-cooperation of people who had been identified as having the disease.

“They are not allowed to go out of their areas ‘pag sila ay positive, so hindi sila puwedeng lumabas sa isolation facilities (if they are positive, which means they cannot go out of their isolation facilities),” she said.

“I have not heard the Comelec (Commission on Elections) providing arrangements para makaboto ‘yong ating mga nasa isolation facilities (to allow those in the isolation facilities to vote). Ang stand ng (The stand of) Comelec, (is) they may not be able to vote,” she added.

This May 9, Cabotaje said voters would also have to present a vaccination card to be able to cast their ballots inside their designated voting precincts.

The unvaccinated and those who would exhibit Covid-19 symptoms after screening would still be able to vote but in a separate or isolated voting area near the precinct.

“Kapag ikaw ay vaccinated, ipapakita mo ‘yong vaccine card, kapag ikaw ay unvaccinated dapat ipakita ‘yong RT-PCR test result mo (na) negative within 48 hours tapos i-iscreen ka at kapag ikaw ay nakitaan ng sintomas pabobotohin ka sa isolated voting place na dinesignate ng Comelec (If you are vaccinated you just have to present your vaccination card, if not, you need to show your negative RT-PCR result taken 48 hours prior, then you will be screened. If you have symptoms you will still be able to vote in an isolated place),” she said.

Daily Covid-19 cases averages at 200 but Cabotaje reminded the public to remain vigilant to prevent a sudden surge in infection, especially after the country recorded its first Omicron subvariant BA.2.12 case.

The reminder was echoed by Dr. Butch Ong of OCTA Research, who went on to say that the pandemic is still not over.

“The election is near and we need to remain careful. We must always wear our mask and consider getting the booster shot if it’s available to us. Tayo ay mag-ingat pa rin kahit na mababa ang kaso (we need to be cautious even if the cases are low),” he said.

Ong said the reproduction number in Metro Manila slightly rose from 0.62 to 0.71 percent over the past week but was still manageable.

“The daily new cases are below 200 and let’s just say that most of the provinces are having double-digit or single-digit cases. So, we will be monitoring closely the provinces and regions in the next few days leading up to the election,” he said.

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