Two residents of Siquijor Island tested positive for the coronavirus disease, breaking the province's COVID-19- free streak since the Philippines recorded its first cases in late January.
The 2 cases traveled from Metro Manila to Siquijor through the Hatid Tulong program, the government's repatriation initiative for locally stranded individuals. (READ: Modern Day Exodus)
The Department of Health announced one case at around 9:30 pm Saturday evening, while the Siquijor local government confirmed 2 cases in a memo published on its official Facebook page at around 1 am on Sunday.
“This happened despite our best efforts to enforce strict health protocols,” Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa said in a statement in Cebuano. “One patient is from Lazi and one is from Larena. Both came from Manila,” Villa added.
The governor emphasized that there has been no instance of local transmission so far. The 2 patients are currently isolated.
Siquijor is the smallest province in the Central Visayas, about an hour away by ferry from Dumaguete City.
Siquijor was among the provinces in the country that managed to stave off the virus since late January.
As of Saturday, August 1, Central Visayas has 16,496 coronavirus cases. Majority of the cases are on Cebu island with 16,302 cases. There have so far been 9,575 recoveries and 851 deaths.