Some passengers of Cebu-Davao flights test positive for virus

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 02 July) – Some passengers who arrived in Davao City via commercial flights from Cebu have tested positive for Covid-19.

Cebu City, still on extended enhanced community quarantine until July 15, is considered the focal point of the pandemic in the country.

Davao International Airport.

During her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday, Mayor Sara Duterte said the results were based on voluntary reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests on passengers

Duterte said local health authorities have conducted random RT-PCR tests on arriving passengers onboard commercial flights to Davao starting last week, after dropping antibody-based rapid diagnostic tests for returning overseas Filipinos and locally stranded individuals.

The mayor, however, said the local government has decided to reinstate testing, this time using RT-PCR procedure, as part of the health screening for arriving passengers.

She said local health authorities would offer “free and voluntary” random RT-PCR tests since the local government could not afford to test all passengers of commercial flights.

As of July 1, the Department of Health-Davao reported a total of 565 Covid-19 cases in the region: 435 in Davao City, 50 in Davao del Norte, 21 in Davao del Sur, 31 in Davao de Oro, 24 in Davao Oriental, and four in Davao Occidental.

Davao City is considered the epicenter of the virus in Mindanao.

Duterte said the city sees more passengers arriving following the easing of restrictions with the shift to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) from July 1 to 15.

“If you want to ask if we got passengers who are positive, yes, from Cebu. We have detected positive cases onboard the airplane through RT-PCR testing upon arrival here at Davao International Airport,” she said.

She reminded Dabawenyos to keep a safe distance from returning residents to keep themselves protected from the infection, and encouraged those who are undergoing home quarantine to complete 14 days in isolation.

“But even random (testing), we were still able to get positive cases. Let me just remind everyone, if you have someone who has arrived from other areas, especially Luzon and Visayas, make sure that they go through strict home quarantine as advised upon arrival at our airport and make sure, as a precaution, you do not go near them because they can turn positive any time between day 1 and day 14,” she said.

Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao de Oro were placed under MGCQ and Davao Occidental and Davao Oriental under a low-risk MGCQ from July 1 to 15. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)