MANILA, Philippines—The health ministry of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has refuted a leaked advisory that listed down Lanao del Sur and Marawi City as areas with local transmission of COVID-19, contrary to data from the Department of Health.
The said advisory, dated April 1, is unofficial and was still subject for final deliberation, the region’s Ministry of Health (MOH) clarified in a statement released Thursday.
“It is unfortunate that an advisory that is still under review and yet to be finalized somehow found its way to the general public through social media captured from a mobile phone scanner,” the statement read.
“The leaked advisory was still in its draft form emanating from our Epidemiological and Surveillance Unit (RESU),” the MOH added.
The MOH also noted that the advisory was not meant for the general public, as it was an internal communication from the regional office to the Integrated Provincial Health Offices and city health offices under the BARMM.
“It is intended as a guide for the appropriate response that the ministry will be adopting and recommending to local government units within the Bangsamoro region as part of the Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19,” the MOH said.
The leaked advisory, signed by BARMM Health Minister Saffrulah Dipatuan, noted that Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, Metro Manila, Davao City, and Cebu City are “areas with local transmission/under enhanced community quarantine.” Persons who have traveled to these areas will be considered persons under investigation (PUI) or under monitoring (PUM).
The MOH clarified that while Lanao del Sur has so far six COVID-19 cases, three of whom have already died, there has been no reported case of local transmission yet.
“Hence, prudence dictates the need for more stringent implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine by the LGUs of Lanao del Sur and Marawi City,” the statement read.
“We likewise emphasize that the classification of a person as PUM or PUI is not based on a mere advisory, but on the existing protocols and algorithms pertaining to COVID-19 provided by the Department of Health,” it added.
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