A police team discovers a drugstore operating in the clandestine hospital set up in a residential villa at Fontana Leisure Parks in Clark Freeport. | Photo by CIDG Regional Field Unit

NEARLY 500 Chinese citizens working and residing at a resort situated at the Clark Freeport Zone north of Manila have been tested for COVID-19, following the discovery of an illegal makeshift hospital.

A total of 490 Chinese nationals underwent testing at Fontana Leisure Park, according to the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Thursday, May 21. This comes two days after the compound was found to have an underground hospital treating patients.

The facility only did check-ups on patients without requiring them to be quarantined, said Brig. Gen. Rhoderick Armamento, deputy chief of the CIDG.

“Lahat ng mga staff doon, lahat ng mga tenant, hindi na pinayaganag lumabas. Pati iyong community within that area, ni-lockdown na (All the staff, tenants there were barred from leaving. The community within that area was also locked down),” he said.
“Ang ultimate objective natin, number one, is magsagawa tayo ng contact tracing (Our ultimate objective is to do contact tracing),” he added.

The reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing involved Chinese tenants and workers of the Philippine offshore gaming operators inside the resort, said a report from the CIDG-Region 3.

Beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, the mass testing lasted until around midnight. The swab tests were conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard personnel in full personal protective equipment, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The test results would be available within 2 to 3 weeks, after the collected specimens have been sent to the Philippine Red Cross laboratory in Mandaluyong City.

Personal data of all those tested were also gathered by the CIDG-3 operatives to obtain  information that could be used for contact tracing.

The Clark Development Corporation ordered the closure and full lockdown of the Fontana Resorts and Leisure Park inside the Clark Freeport Zone after the discovery of an illegal makeshift hospital treating Chinese nationals infected with COVID-19.

The two orders were signed after the CIDG-Region 3, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the CDC conducted a joint raid inside a villa at the Fontana Leisure Park on Tuesday, May 19.

During the raid on Wednesday, May 20, the team found the makeshift medical facility, which had seven beds and a kitchen-type laboratory where COVID-19 testing could have been conducted, as evidenced by more than 200 suspected coronavirus rapid test kits and syringes recovered in the trash bin.

The team also arrested Chinese nationals Hu Ling, the alleged owner of the facility, and Lee Seung Hyun, an alleged pharmacist.

Both individuals could face charges for the violation of the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9711), and the violation of the Medical Act of 1959 (RA 2382) for illegally operating without clearance and permit with the Department of Health and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

They are currently detained at Camp Olivas, the regional police headquarters.

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