DOH: No isolation exemption for Covid-19 patients on May 9

The Department of Health (DOH) has reiterated that Covid-19 will not be allowed to go outside while still in isolation on election day.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje cited Republic Act No. 11332 which penalizes non-cooperation of people who had been identified as having the disease.

“They are not allowed to go out of their areas if they are positive, which means they cannot go out of their isolation facilities),” she said.

“I have not heard the Comelec providing arrangements to allow those in isolation facilities to vote). The stand of Comelec, is that they may not be able to vote,” she added.

During the May 9 elections, Cabotaje said voters would also have to present a vaccination card to be able to cast their ballots inside their designated voting precincts.

The unvaccinated and those who would exhibit Covid-19 symptoms after screening would still be able to vote but in a separate or isolated voting facility near the precinct.

“If you are vaccinated you just have to present your vaccination card, or show your negative RT-PCR test results taken 48 hours prior, then you will be screened. If you have symptoms you will still be able to vote in an isolated voting place,” she further explained.

Daily Covid-19 cases average at 200 but Cabotaje reminded the public to remain vigilant to prevent a sudden surge in infection, especially after the country recorded its first Omicron subvariant BA.2.12 case.

The reminder was echoed by Dr. Butch Ong of OCTA Research, who went on to say that the pandemic is still not over.

“The election is near and we need to remain careful. We must always wear our masks and consider getting the booster shot if it’s available to us. We need to be cautious even if the cases are low,” he stressed, noting that the reproduction number in Metro Manila slightly rose from 0.62 to 0.71% over the past week but is still manageable.

“The daily new cases are below 200 and let’s just say that most of the provinces are having double-digit or single-digit cases. So, we will be monitoring closely the provinces and regions in the next few days leading up to the election,” he said. (PNA)