Stricter quarantine measures seen to lessen infections in Davao

A huge signage along Davao City’s Diversion Road reminds the public to stay home under the city’s community quarantine guidelines on the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 April) – Local health officials are expecting fewer cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) with the enforcement of a 15-day enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Davao City effective 9 p.m. of April 4.

Dr. Lenny Joy Rivera, assistant regional director of Department of Health (DOH)-Davao, said during a virtual presser over Philippine Information Agency-Davao’s Facebook page on Thursday she projects a lower infection rate since the ECQ would limit the movement of people.

She said “physical distancing” would now be strictly enforced since there would be lesser contact between infected individuals and those who are still free from the infection.

Rivera, however, added the number of Covid-19 cases would not go down anytime soon because more of those who have already been infected through local transmission are expected to go to the hospitals by the second week of this month.

The Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City and Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum are the only government tertiary hospitals in the region designated to treat Covid-19 patients.

SPMC chief of hospital Lepoldo Vega added the number of patients admitted there is expected to double, pointing out the need to strictly enforce the quarantine to contain the spread of the infection.

He said they expect the number of persons under investigation (PUI) to double in the coming weeks.

“If this will increase to the next week, I would expect this (PUI) will double to a hundred admissions and also the possibility of another increase in positive Covid-19 of about 60,” he said.

As of April 1, 2020, the DOH-Davao reported 61 Covid-19 cases.

Of the 61 patients, 49 cases are in Davao City, six in Davao del Norte, two in Davao del Sur, one in Davao de Oro, and three in Davao Oriental.

“If we really can contain people from moving around and isolate them, I think it may even be lower than our projection,” Vega said.

Mayor Sara Dutuerte issued Thursday Executive Order 23 placing the city under ECQ effective April 4.

The order compels people to “stay in their houses to arrest the spread of infection” and all jeepneys to suspend their operations. Private vehicles, taxis and tricycles are allowed on the streets with restrictions on the number of passengers.

People who go out to buy food or medicines must present their passes and valid IDs at checkpoints. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)