Editorial: ‘Poblacion girl’ and quarantine skippers

·2 min read

There could be dire consequences to a reckless move.

A returning overseas Filipino from Los Angeles skipped quarantine, partied in Barangay Poblacion in Makati City and tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in the waning days of 2021.

The woman whose identity was withheld by authorities earned the ire of netizens, who labeled her as “Poblacion girl.”

She arrived in the Philippines last Dec. 22. A day later, she went to a party in Makati. On Dec. 27, she tested positive.

The woman may have infected around 15 people, said Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on Dec. 30.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat confirmed that the woman skipped quarantine at the hotel where the latter was supposed to undergo quarantine. The traveler reportedly boasted she had connections.

The Department of Health also said on Dec. 30, it is unacceptable that some international travelers skipped mandatory quarantine so they could attend a crowded event, which made the agency issue an appeal that “now is not the time to relax and deliberately put others in danger.”

Bureau of Quarantine Director Roberto Salvador Jr. said the government has prepared a complaint against the woman.

Poblacion girl must be held accountable for her actions. The hotel where she was supposed to complete her mandatory quarantine must also be investigated for its possible lapses.

On Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, Puyat said another traveler from the US skipped quarantine after she arrived in the country.

The traveler, a woman, went straight to her condominium and managed to avail herself of a home massage service, and she narrated on her Instagram Story how she managed to skip quarantine. Puyat said this latest quarantine skipper was already caught.

People must be reminded that Covid-19 is still here. Its latest Omicron variant is more highly transmissible than the Delta variant.

Though experts said Omicron’s symptoms are milder than those of Delta, its high transmission rate can infect more people in a short span of time. This can lead to hospitals or quarantine facilities being overwhelmed again.

“We call on everyone to be agents of compassion, not agents of transmission. Let us act with utmost concern for our health workers, for kids and sick people, and for the people around us,” said the DOH in a statement Sunday.

Suppressing personal freedom to attend a mass gathering like parties amid the ongoing global health crisis is a sacrifice that must be done. And a little sacrifice is no reckless move.

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