Warm welcome, ankle monitor and a lesson

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte wants to welcome in person returning Filipinos from Wuhan City, China, but his security people will probably oppose it.

A mayor wants those in self-quarantine to have ankle trackers to monitor their movement. A person who posted an alarm on social media may have his day in court.

These are among the latest reactions to the public health emergency brought about by the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease or 2019-nCoV ARD.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte wants to be “with the people” when the returning Filipinos arrive on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020.

But the President’s management staff and security might not allow him, Nograles said..

For Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, an ankle tracker or monitor would be a big help in watching those in self-quarantine.

Those in self-quarantine are not sick but new government rules state that, if they have been to China, they should undergo a 14-day quarantine. Those with symptoms are placed in a medical facility while those asymptomatic may remain at home in those 14 days.

To ensure that, Chan said ankle trackers would help. Ankle trackers are digital surveillance devices tethered around the ankle and usually used in bail or probation conditions. The sensor would give out an alarm and alert the authorities if the wearer goes beyond a prescribed distance.

Chan said he will ask for cost quotations. A quick online search showed that, in the United States, the set-up fee for an ankle monitor is $200 or P10,000 and a daily fee ranges from $5 to $40 or P250 to P2,000.

Meanwhile, the person who posted an alarm on social media about an infection case in Talisay City would have the chance to explain his actions in court as the City Government is bent on filing charges.

According to Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr., the man identified as Jewel Aviso apologized and asked for forgiveness for posting “fake news” or false information about an infection case. Aviso posted on Facebook on Tuesday, Feb. 4, that there were infected people at the Talisay City District Hospital and several already died, as he also warned the public not to go to the hospital.

Presidential Decree 90 makes rumormongering and spreading false information illegal and violators could face imprisonment of six to 12 years.

Gullas, in his own Facebook post, said: “I also urged the public to avoid causing unnecessary hysteria by posting unfounded information on social media. If in doubt, you can always approach our health officials or read the latest updates from (the health department).” (SunStar Philippines/FMD/GCM)