15 foreign tourists test positive for Covid-19 in Palawan

A total of 15 foreign tourists who visited Palawan to explore Tubbataha Reef tested positive for Covid-19, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Tuesday, May 3.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Photo courtesy of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and World Heritage Facebook page)

In a statement, DOH said that all 15 individuals are fully vaccinated, of which 13 were asymptomatic and 2 presented mild symptoms with onset dates from April 27 to 28.

DOH stated that 14 of them were isolated in facilities while one was admitted at a hospital.

"They were tested in RT-PCR on April 29 to 30, of which all resulted as positive," the agency said.

"As of the moment, the DOH through the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU) and the CESU are still verifying the situation and will update the public once more information is available," it added.

When asked if there will be reimposition of quarantine requirements from countries reporting new variants as well as sub variants, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that what happened was an isolated case and that it remains unknown what kind of variant the tourists were infected with.

However, she mentioned that all 15 samples will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) and will be tagged as urgent. The tourists, she said, were immediately isolated and no longer took part in any other activities.