All Davao-bound passengers from Clark negative for COVID-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 May) – The regional office of the Department of Health in the Davao Region (DOH-Davao) said on Wednesday that all 147 passengers on board a 162-seater sweeper flight from AirAsia tested negative for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a phone interview, DOH-Davao assistant regional director Lenny Joy Rivera explained that based on the memorandum issued by the city government of Davao that returning passengers would be placed under 14-day strict home quarantine when they are “asymptomatic” and tested negative for the infection based on the “rapid diagnostic test.”

“It’s the effort of the local government unit on the procedure on how to deal with returning residents, same with repatriates and, for DOH, as per instruction to us, we prepared Go Hotel just in case if the repatriates need a place to stay,” she said.

Rivera added that the local government has established quarantine facilities to house the returning residents while the DOH-Davao provides the health personnel who will monitor them.

Mayor Sara Duterte added healthcare workers would assess the passengers if they would recommend that they are required to stay in the quarantine facilities or in Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

Last Monday, Duterte said the sweeper flight from Clark was paid for by businessman Johnny Ng, including the 400-seater aircraft of Cebu Pacific that arrived here Wednesday from Manila carrying 270 passengers, falling short of its target to fill up all seats with stranded passengers.

“We do not know what happened to them and why they did not board the aircraft. For our part, we made it available for them, for 400 passengers who are in the list,” she said.

Duterte said the aircraft carried 394 passengers for its return flight to Manila.

“It depends on the screening upon arrival. We cannot say if everyone will go into the city quarantine facility, everyone will go to SPMC. There is a procedure, a guide for healthcare workers. It’s a checklist, and depending on the result of the screening, you will be told where you be placed upon arrival,” she said.

Citing the city-issued memorandum, she said home quarantine is permitted for asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patients.