MANILA – The woman who prematurely left her hotel quarantine facility in Makati City to party and later tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) will have to deal with cases to be filed by the government once she recovers.
Gwyneth Anne Chua, who came from Los Angeles, California, will be held liable for violating the state-mandated health protocols, according to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
“Yes, kakasuhan natin ‘yan (we will file charges against her),” Año said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Sunday.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos also said he has tasked units to investigate the case.
“Based on the instructions of SILG (Secretary of the Interior and Local Government) Año and CabSec (Cabinet Secretary Karlo) Nograles, I have instructed on 30 December 21 the DIDM (Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management), CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group), NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office), and HS (Health Service) to investigate the case and file appropriate criminal charges against anyone who will be found violating,” Carlos said in an earlier statement.
The PNP was also mandated to inspect hotel facilities and make an accounting of persons under quarantine.
Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., NCRPO chief, said in a radio interview on Sunday that they are ready to provide additional security in hotels, if needed, to avoid a repeat of the incident at Berjaya Makati Hotel in Barangay Poblacion.
“Sa ngayon, wala pa pero (For now there are no additional manpower but) that will depend on the situation as needed. Kung kinakailangan po, lalagyan natin ng tao (If needed, we can assign our men),” he said.
Danao appealed to the public to practice discipline and follow the Covid-19 safety protocols as the country’s Covid-19 cases are increasing anew.
“Ang key po talaga sana magkaroon tayo ng sariling disiplina. ‘Di natin kaya na bantayan lahat (The key here is for people to have discipline. We can’t guard everyone),” he said.
Chua checked in at Berjaya on December 22, went to a nearby bar the following day, tested positive on December 27, and was “extracted” from the Makati Avenue hotel on December 29, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Some of her fellow partygoers and bar staff likewise contracted the virus, the DOT said.
In a statement on Saturday, the hotel assured it is fully cooperating with the investigation and will impose severe sanctions on “any employee found errant by commission or omission” to deter a repeat of the breach. (PNA)