Davao City to test PUV, courier drivers

Photo by Mark Perandos

THE Davao City government is set to conduct free swab testing to all drivers of public transportation and delivery services starting Monday, April 26, 2021.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio issued Executive Order (EO) No. 22, "An Order Providing For Heightened Surveillance and Response of Covid-19 Cases in Public Ground Transport and Delivery Service in Davao City."

According to Section 1 of EO 22, the city will be providing free Covid-19 swab testing for all drivers and delivery service such as taxi drivers, van drivers, airconditioned and non-airconditioned jeepney drivers, habal-habal or motorcycle drivers, tricycle drivers, bus drivers, other drivers of public ground transport vehicles, and motorcycle drivers of food and online item delivery services (i.e. Grab, Foodpanda, Shopee, Lazada, etc.)

The free testing will start from April 26 to May 8 from Monday to Saturday, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Davao Crocodile Park.

Those who will avail of the swab test must bring the following: ballpen and driver's license or any government-issued ID.

Drivers are not mandated to undergo quarantine while waiting for their test results, the EO said.

Duterte-Carpio said in the EO that "public ground transportation and delivery services pose a significant risk to Covid-19 transmission."

"Drivers of public ground transport and delivery or courier services are deemed high risk of exposure to Covid-19 and identified as potential sources of transmission by the City Health Office (CHO), Infectious Disease Specialists, and the Davao City Covid-19 Task Force," the mayor said.

On the public transport, the mayor said "the risk of infection is associated with sitting in proximity to an index case, duration of time aboard (time spent in the vehicle), inadequate ventilation, consequential recirculation of contaminated air especially in air-conditioned public transport vehicles, the widespread use of potentially contaminated barriers (plastics) to achieve social distancing and contaminated surfaces like handrails, doorknobs, seats, etc., and the countless number of possible infected passengers getting in and out of the vehicle."

While for delivery or courier services, she said, "the risk of infection is associated with touching objects or surfaces contaminated by persons unaware that they are infected."

CHO Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in a radio interview on Wednesday, April 21, the city is planning to add more Covid-19 swab testing areas.

Unlike in the previous community surveillance, the free swabbing at the Crocodile Park will be "drive-thru" style.

"Dako ni siyang tabang kung ma-implement nato tanan para sa atong (This is a big help if we could implement all of this) Covid[-19] operations, particularly sa (in the) testing aspect sa (of) Covid-19," Lopez said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

The health official said they will be coordinating with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for the targeted surveillance swabbing.

"Isa pud ni nga way aron ma-catch ug maapil atong mga drivers sa atong surveillance (This is one way to catch and enjoin our drivers in our surveillance)," he said, adding they are also one of the exposed sectors of the virus.

The move is part of the city's intensified community swabbing, in accordance with EO 18, which orders for the "heightened surveillance and response" for the Covid-19 cases in the city.


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