In an effort to prevent and control a possible outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among evacuees, the Quezon City government has conducted an immediate swab testing of 251 individuals who showed symptoms of the coronavirus.

Mayor Joy Belmonte has instructed the close monitoring of all evacuation centers and deployed city health workers to keep a close watch on everyone’s health status.

“Disaster response in the midst of this pandemic is extra challenging, but we assure our citizens that the city is prepared with our health protocols in place and on top of our priorities,” said Belmonte.

According to Dr. Rolando Cruz, head of the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), the said evacuees who were affected by Typhoon Ulysses were swabbed on Saturday and were immediately taken to barangay quarantine facilities for the management of their symptoms, and while they wait for their results.

“We will be on alert until next week to keep a close watch on all our evacuees especially since they are in a crowded setting, and are more susceptible to highly contagious COVID-19,” said Cruz.

He added that the CESU will continue its intensified monitoring to make sure any symptoms and diseases are immediately reported including leptospirosis and diarrhea, and to cover everyone including all city responders and rescuers.

As of November 15, a total of 1,648 families were being temporary sheltered in three of the evacuation centers in the city.