With Metro Manila sealed off from sea, air and land travel, Bohol health authorities have to send swab samples taken from patients under investigation (PUI) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in the province through military aircrafts to Cebu then Manila.
According to Dr. Yul Lopez of the Provincial Health Office, the samples of around three PUIs in the province were sent on board a Philippine Air Force chopper on Wednesday morning to Cebu where these will then be transferred to a Manila-bound C-130 cargo plane.
The samples will be tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Marikina City.
Lopez said that samples were previously sent to the RITM through commercial flights but air travel has been suspended between Bohol and Metro Manila after both areas were placed under community quarantine.
Only authorized government vehicles and aircraft such as those of the military are exempted from the travel ban.
Meanwhile, local health authorities are no longer heavily relying on the RITM for tests due to delays in the release of results as the facility is swamped with the testing of samples from across the country amid the growing COVID 19 threat.
“Hapit na ko dili mo rely sa Manila because ang RITM in Manila is swamped with samples all over the Philippines, so that’s why temporarily we use clinical classification of patients,” Lopez said.
Patients with mild symptoms will be given Outpatient Department treatment while those with “moderate to severe” symptoms will be admitted at the hospital.
There are still no active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bohol but there were seven PUIs as of Tuesday night.