Interestingly, there are a few exceptions to all the grim COVID-19-related news in this side of the country. This beachside isolation facility in Malangabang Island in the Municipality of Concepcion in Iloilo City has been making it in the news recently. As of July 7, 2021, there are 211 COVID-19 cases in Concepcion and 109 individuals are under quarantine in this island facility in Malangabang.
The town mayor, Mayor Raul Banias, recently posted a video and three other photos showing a group of some 30 people energetically doing Zumba by the beach on a beautiful sunny day. He tagged a user named Gary Balsamo, who, according to his Facebook profile, is a registered nurse from Concepcion, and is the original owner of the photos and videos that the mayor uploaded.
In the video, the camera would pan back and forth to the dancing group and the white sands with inviting blue waters of this barangay island with a population of over 3,500 residents.
According to Banias' Facebook post, only those who are asymptomatic and have completed at least seven days of quarantine in the isolation facility can join the Zumba activity by the beach to boost their immunity with exercise and some sun.
The same post adds that not all are allowed to go out. “Those with mild symptoms and those who are senior citizens who would rather take it slow and just rest remain in isolation inside the facility,” Mayor Banias wrote.
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He assured that the facility staff strictly follow health protocols like wearing masks, observing physical distancing, and hand washing or sanitizing.
Banias, in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), said that Zumba has been a routine for (those in quarantine) since almost 96 percent of the cases are asymptomatic. The PNA also reported that the Mayor is studying how they can have the Malangabang facility replicated safely in their main isolation facility, which is a housing facility of the National Housing Authority in Bacjawan Sur.
“Now we are trying to reassess how we can ably do this because there are private groups who volunteer and they could probably lead in the Zumba for able-bodied isolates,” the mayor, who is also a medical doctor by profession, told PNA.
Amid all the sad news on the pandemic, this is definitely one story where we can’t help but say, ‘Sana all!’