Mayor Sara to families of returning residents: No welcome parties

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 July) – As the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise in this city, Mayor Sara Duterte told residents of Davao City to avoid holding “welcome parties” for returning family members to avoid contracting the infection, even if they test negative for the virus through a swab test.

During her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte reminded the Dabawenyos to keep a safe distance from family members who have just landed in the city.

Effective July 22, all airplane passengers are swabbed upon arrival at the Davao International Airport and will have to wait in holding facilities until negative test results of reverse transcript-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are released within 24 hours.

She said airplane passengers must still undergo the strict 14-day home quarantine just to ensure they are not infected since there is a possibility that you get tested by RT-PCR “on a wrong day.”

Health experts claimed that the incubation period of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, takes 14 days.

“You might say, ‘since I am negative, I can hold welcome parties.’ That’s still not allowed. Our doctor will not allow that because the doctor said there is a chance that you were tested by RT-PCR on a wrong day,” she said.

Dr. Cleo Fe Tabada, head of the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of Department of Health-Davao, said last July 24 that there were households who got infected by returning family members who breached the 14-day quarantine.

Last July 22, the local government relaxed further the requirement for all airplane passengers bound for this city as they are no longer required to present negative RT-PCR results issued within 72 hours prior to scheduled departure, following the complaints about the rigidity of the requirement imposed by the local government.

She said all arriving passengers, be they on regular commercial flights or sweeper flights of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), will be swabbed for free and will have to wait in designated holding areas inside the airport until the test results come out after 24 hours.

She said all passengers will have to undergo RT-PCR testing, even for non-Davao City residents.

As of July 27, Department of Health-Davao reported 1,160 cases with 46 deaths and 659 recoveries.

Of the total cases, 782 are in Davao City, 123 in Davao del Norte, 50 in Davao del Sur, 80 in Davao de Oro, 96 in Davao Oriental, and 29 in Davao Occidental. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)