DAVAO Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang said he wants to place the entire province under a temporary lockdown to prevent the possible transmission of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.

Dayanghirang said in a radio interview that he wants to suspend the entry of people from other regions in the province, particularly from Metro Manila, which is currently placed under Alert Level 3 due to the rising number of cases in the past few days.

He, however, said this will not be possible, as the province is following the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases guidelines (IATF).

The province has been placed under Alert Level 2 until January 15.

Under Alert Level 2, interzonal movements must not be restricted.

"Dili man ta ka-lockdown diri sa probinsya sa Davao Oriental tungod sa status sa (We cannot place Davao Oriental under lockdown due to our status based on the) regionwide Alert Level System," the governor said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

Dayanghirang said he is hoping that local government units (LGUs) would be given its authority to place a lockdown in its respective locality as a way to address the possible transmission.

"Anag pinakanindot unta diha dili na nato basehan ang Alert [Level] nato. Tagaan untag authority ang local government unit to come out an order nga mag-lockdown og iyahang kaugalingon para maundang sa ning transmission. Undangon sa nato kadali ang lihok sa tao kay naa may threat sa Omicron," he said.

(It would have been better if we wouldn't base our Covid-19 measures on Alert Level status. They should give LGUs an author it y to come out with an order to place lockdown in their respective locality to prevent the transmission of the virus. We should prevent the movement of the people due to the threat of the Omicron variant.)

He added that the proposed lockdown is good for 15 days to curb the possible spread of the virus.

The governor emphasized that the national IATF is the only body who can decide on the alert level status of a certain locality.

This is with the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH). Since it was imposed in October 2021, LGUs are no longer given liberty to appeal on the issued alert status.

Davao Oriental is one of the top tourist destinations in the region, with Mati as the province's main attraction.

Dayanghirang said they are anticipating an influx of tourists following the devastation of the well-renowned tourist spot Siargao Island, which was hit by Typhoon Odette in December 2021.

He added that the entry of tourists in the province would only be possible if the IATF would come out with a national order.

The province, as of Sunday, January 9, remains to have zero recorded Omicron case.

Despite this, Dayanghirang said they are continuously intensifying its surveillance monitoring, and had upgraded its local contact tracers in preparation of the possible surge.

Based on the January 9 data of DOH-Davao Region, Davao Oriental only has 11 active cases.