ASYMPTOMATIC tourists who are quarantined at a facility in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos), Davao del Norte seemed to be just enjoying a vacation, as they are allowed to swim in the beaches as part of their therapy, Igacos Mayor Al David Uy said.
"Wala may problema, mura'g nagbakasyon sila kay beach resort man. Madugay-dugayan pero libre na sila kaon, libre kwarto (It is not a problem because it’s like they are on vacation as our isolation facilities are in a beach resort. You might be put on hold for a bit longer, but they are provided free food and accommodation),” Uy said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
The mayor added they are even allowed to swim in the beaches in the morning.
"Katong na-quarantine sa beach resort, gina-allow man namo [sila] maligo sa buntag. Basta hapon, puyo na sila (Those quarantined at the beach resort, they are allowed to swim in the morning. But they must go back to their rooms in the afternoon and onwards)," he said.
Uy noted that those who took a swim at beaches recovered fast and were discharged at quarantine facilities.
“Nabantayan namo mas dali ang recovery pag makaligo og dagat (We noticed a speedy recovery when they are allowed to swim in the sea),” the mayor said, adding that the view of the area must also helped patients alleviate their stress and anxiety, aiding in their fast recovery.
Uy said the island city is strictly conducting health screening for tourists coming to the island.
"Magdepende na kay pag-assess sa atong (It would depend upon the assessment of our) health personnel, and makitaan sila og (and if they would be able to detect) symptoms, basin ma-quarantine na sila. Kung ga-ubo-ubo ka unya sip-on ka, i-quarantine ka depende sa (you might be recommended to undergo quarantine. For example, they are manifesting coughs and colds, then you will be quarantined, depending on the advice of the) health officer," the mayor said.
In compliance with the Joint Regional Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases-Regional Task Force Against Covid-19 (RIATF-RTF)-Davao Resolution 01 series of 2021, or the unified border control, tourists outside the region will be required to present reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
But Uy said tourists who will visit Igacos, whether for tourism activities other than meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions (MICE) or personal milestone celebration, will still be required to undergo rapid antigen tests, which will be shouldered by the local government through the City Health Office.
Meanwhile, the mayor said the city had experienced an uptick of Covid-19 cases the past few days, but it is still “manageable” for now.
He added there are “pocket areas” in the city that are currently experiencing a surge of cases and they are continuously conducting surveillance testing and contact tracing in government offices, markets, terminals, stores, and other areas of public convergence. Their surveillance yielded a number of confirmed cases, and is currently being monitored by the local government.
"But still [it is still a] concern kasi padayon atong surveillance sa (because we continue to conduct our surveillance within) community," Uy said.
Since the island opened its economy for its residents and tourists, Uy said there is a need to step up their testing and contact tracing to curb the spread of the virus.
He admitted they also noted a surge of cases since the tourism industry resumed its operations.
"Di gyud na malikayan na, syempre, ang mga tao magtapok-tapok man gyud. (We cannot control people from converging.) They can move from one place to another place. Ang uban na turista na makasulod diri, di man gyud malikayan nga mubisita sa ilang paryente pud (It can’t be avoided that some tourists would even visit their relatives when they are here)," he said.
Uy said tourists who intend to visit Igacos are required to pre-book with the resort/accommodation establishment prior to their entry to the resort facilities. Guests are also required to secure the city’s QR code.
Senior citizens, moreover, are not required to secure medical certificates.
For Mice or personal milestone celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, baptism, and the like, all guests/participants coming from outside of Davao Region shall undergo an antigen test within 24 hours prior to their entry or actual date of celebration.
Meanwhile, the allowed operational and sitting capacity of resorts and other establishments has been increased from 60 percent to 70 percent.
Uy previously lowered down the operational capacity from 75 percent to 60 percent due to an increase of Covid-19 cases in the city.
"Simbako na mutaas nasab ang kaso, i-adjust nasab nato. Kung OK, stay put nato (God forbid that there will be a surge of cases, then we will adjust the capacity. But if there is no change in trend, then we will retain)," he said.