2 of 6 arrested Piston jeepney drivers test positive for COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 18) — Two of the six jeepney drivers who were previously arrested for protesting have tested positive for COVID-19.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice told CNN Philippines on Thursday that the two drivers, both asymptomatic, are now under self isolation.

"Asymptomatic sila and in self-quarantine. Nag-contact tracing na rin (sa mga nakasalamuha nila) at we will test some of them today," Erice said in a text message.

[Translation: They are asymptomatic and in self-quarantine. Contact tracing among those they have interacted with is already in place. We will test some of them today.]

Erice did not disclose the identity of the two who tested positive.

"The remaining four tested negative, we did contact tracing and of course, included the lawyers and Piston leaders," he added.

The lawmaker, who assisted the drivers for their release, first made the announcement in a Facebook post on Wednesday. He said that the other inmates who were with the drivers at the Caloocan custodial facility should also undergo testing. The cramped facility must also be disinfected as soon as possible, he added.

The six drivers, dubbed as "Piston 6", were arrested on June 2 and jailed for at least six days for supposedly disobeying health regulations after protesting their loss of livelihood due to quarantine transportation protocols.

The oldest of the drivers, 72-year-old Elmer Cordero, was among those who tested negative for the virus. He was among the last to walk free after posting bail.

The other members of the Piston 6 are 43-year-old Wilson Ramilla, 59-year-old Severino Ramos, 48-year-old Ramon Paloma, 59-year-old Ruben Baylon, and 56-year-old Arsenio Ymas Jr.

Jeepneys have been banned on Metro Manila's streets since mid-March, when the government imposed strict quarantine measures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.