HEALTH officials warned that the failure of the people to observe strict health protocols as they travel in and out of the Davao Region may contribute to the increase of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.
Department of Health in Davao Region regional epidemiology surveillance unit (DOH-Davao Resu) officer Cleofe Tabada said some people usually fail to follow quarantine instructions as soon as they get home, which would potentially cause an increase in virus transmission.
She said they are also not usually screened for Covid-19 from their areas of origin.
“We are having challenges with screening before they board any vessel and after they come here. There are still some who are given instructions and do not follow them maybe because they did not understand it. So when they get to the home, often the quarantine is not fully implemented,” she said.
She said the current rise in the Covid-19 positive cases may be attributed to the intensified screening of arriving residents in borders as well as the easing of movement restrictions.
“As you have noticed in July, we have increased our movement. Meron na tayong commercial flights. Meron na tayong vehicles na coming in and out na commercial din. There is also an increase in the movement of private vehicles,” she said.
She added that they have continued to intensify the screening of traveling individuals.
Recently, the health officials announced that high community transmission was reported in four areas in Davao City, as of July 17.
Community transmission is when the patient and the contact tracing team could no longer pinpoint where specifically the virus came from. The linkage between one patient to another could no longer be established.
Despite that, most of the Covid-19 cases in the region are the locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and the returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
With this, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio demanded that airplane passengers coming to Davao Region through the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (FBIA), commonly known as Davao International Airport, must present a negative swab test result within 48 hours from the date of departure.
This was done to mitigate the spike of Covid-19 positive cases as observed to have been imported in the last few weeks.
Davao de Oro Provincial Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy also raised the same concern as Tabada, saying that there are LSIs and ROFs who do not coordinate with and inform their local government units (LGUs) of their arrivals.
“Ang importante nga mahibalo mi sa inyong pagpauli. Dili kay ang komunidad na mismo ang makakita sa inyuha ug mureport nga miabot mo. Pinaagi sa kana nga aksyon, adunay possibility nga en kaso nga positive ta, makatakod mo (It is important that we will be the first to be aware of your return so we will be able to mitigate the potential spread of the virus in case you test positive of Covid-19),” he said.
He has requested the national interagency task force to suspend the Hatid-Probinsya program for two weeks to keep their isolation units in barangays and municipalities from being overwhelmed by the number of Covid-19-positive LSIs and ROFs.
Meanwhile, DOH-Davao Assistant Regional Director Lenny Joy Rivera said they are already discussing with the officials of the Southern Philippines Medical Center and the Davao Regional Medical Center on measures to expand the bed capacity in intensive care units to accommodate severe cases of Covid-19.
They are also taking steps to increase the Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities in the LGUs.
“Mas lalo po tayong hindi dapat maging relaxed or kampante (We should not be relaxed or complacent) so we still follow the strategies of DITR or the Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate and our precautionary measures,” she said.
“We are also reminding everyone that despite the fact that we are already open and there is a movement of people, yun pung one to two meters of physical distance, wearing of the right and clean face masks as well as hand washing, di po natin dapat makalimutan (we should continue to observe physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and handwashing),” she added. (With reports from Jennie Arado and Ralph Lawrence Llemit)