Davao to continue COVID-19 monitoring as travel restrictions lifted

Mar. 11, 2021

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Travel restrictions such as the requirement for COVID-19 testing will be eased all over the country, as Davao City officials assure they will conduct clinical assessment of passengers and community testing to allay fears of the spread of the virus.

This comes as the government’s Inter-agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease recently approved uniform travel protocols for land, air, and sea travel, which states mandatory reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for travellers will no longer be required “except if the LGU of destination will require testing as a requirement prior to travel.”

Under the said travel rules, travellers would also not be required “to undergo quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms upon arrival at the LGU of destination.”

City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio earlier announced that the city will abide to such orders.

Meanwhile, City Health Office (CHO) Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez, in a radio interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday, said that despite the ease of travel restrictions, the strict implementation of clinical assessment by doctors continues, including at the Davao International Airport.

“We have to do more testing, we have to intensify our active case surveillance especially to foreigners, OFWs, and returning residents with the IATF Resolution 101, opening the travel and business opportunities in Davao,” Lopez added.

Duterte-Carpio also said in an interview on DCDR that the city government will redirect its resources more on RT-PCR testing and contact tracing in communities.

Officials earlier noted that the COVID-19 cases in Davao City is currently in downward trend, with only 221 new cases in March. The DOH Davao has recorded 537 active cases in the city and 1,059 in the entire Davao Region.

New variant

The city recorded its first case of COVID-19 UK variant in February—a 10-year-old patient with no travel history outside Davao City and its family has no known exposure to UK variant suspects or foreigners. The case was among the three UK variant found in Davao Region.

Dr. Lopez said in an early interview that this was possibly a case where the virus has mutated, but the patient has already recovered.

“They were already given the medical clearance…and there were no unfortunate events that happened. There was no evidence of further transmission,” Lopez said.

Lopez also clarified that an OFW who resides in Davao that has tested positive with the UK variant after arriving from Dubai did not arrive in the city as the OFW is now placed under the 14-day quarantine.

“For now, we do not have active cases for any new COVID-19 variants…We are not expecting any surge in the future unless we’re going to have cases under the new variants,” he said.

Davao City has started its vaccination program earlier this week, starting with healthcare workers from public and private hospitals catering to COVID-19 cases. As of March 10, Davao Region received 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, in addition to 33,600 Sinovac vaccines which first arrived in the region. (davaotoday.com)

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