CAAP: Davao-bound passengers must undergo virus test 48 hours before departure

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 July) — Passengers bound for Davao City will be required to show negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results, issued within 48 hours before the scheduled departure, upon check-in at the airport of origin starting July 20.

This after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) approved the request of the city government for such requirement after noting that travelers from Manila accounted for the highest number of new COVID-19 cases from July 5 to 13.

“This measure is intended solely to ensure that the health and safety of the flying public are not compromised in any manner,” Capt. Donaldo A. Mendoza, CAAP deputy director general for operations said in his advisory dated July 16.

In a statement released by the City Information Office on Thursday, the local government said it would not honor rapid test results, and that it would hold arriving passengers without negative RT-PCR test results at the airport until they undergo swab tests at their own expense.

The local government had requested the national government to implement this policy last May 30, more than a week before domestic commercial flights resumed on June 8 when travel restrictions had eased.

It added that this new measure would greatly help Mindanao manage COVID-19 cases.

In her interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) last Monday, Duterte said  the local government here noticed that RT-PCR test results required by the national government at present were taken one to two weeks before departure.

“Those RT-PCR test results are no longer accepted by our doctors. The doctors would say that seven days prior to their arrival, there is a possibility that they are already exposed,” Duterte said then.

She said there are two daily flights to the city after travel restrictions have been eased.

As of July 16, the Department of Health-Davao reported 35 new COVID-19 cases in the region, bringing the total to 878 with 42 deaths and 489 recoveries. Of the total cases, 643 are in Davao City, 84 in Davao del Norte, 34 in Davao del Sur, 59 in Davao de Oro, 53 in Davao Oriental, and five in Davao Occidental.

Davao City has been placed under medium-risk modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) from July 16 to 31, instead of general community quarantine after Duterte appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease to retain the city under MGCQ. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)