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Health protocols for Balik Probinsiya pushed as beneficiary tests positive for COVID-19

Health screening protocols must be strictly followed by government agencies implementing the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Program after one of its pilot beneficiaries tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning to Leyte, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go said Thursday.

Citing information from National Housing Authority General Manager Jun Escalada, the senator said Leyte was chosen as the first location for the roll-out of the program after the provincial government expressed readiness to welcome returning residents as well as to "test, detect, isolate and treat" COVID-19 patients.

"Sinabi rin po niya (Escalada) na lahat ng mga beneficiaries na umalis noong May 20 pauwi ng Leyte ay nakapag-comply naman sa required health certification mula sa LGU at DOH," Go said in a statement.

"Pero dahil rin sa kaibahan ng sakit na COVID-19, hindi natin nakikita ang kalaban. Kahit 'yung mga nag-negative sa test, pwedeng maging positive pagkatapos ng ilang araw," he added.

Given the volatility of the situation, Go said following health protocols should be paramount and health facilities nationwide must be equipped to handle COVID-19 cases.

On Wednesday, Baybay City Mayor Jose Carlos Cari announced through social media that a member of the first batch of the Balik Probinsya program became the first COVID-19 case in his jurisdiction.

Contact tracing is ongoing. Local authorities assured that the patient did not have direct contact with his/her family and that the health workers involved are safe.

A total of 121 beneficiaries returned to Leyte last week during the pilot implementation of the Balik Probinsiya program. —LDF, GMA News