2 night market vendors, 1 security personnel tested positive for COVID-19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 Sept) – Mayor Sara Duterte said on Monday that two vendors and one security personnel at the Roxas Night Market tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through a “baseline” test using a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine taken three days before the popular night market re-opened last Saturday.

Reopning of the Roxas Night Market in Davao City on 12 September 2020. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO C. BUENO

Duterte said during her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio 87.5 on Monday that the three persons have been isolated at the temporary treatment and monitoring facility of the local government after the RT-PCR results came out.

She said the baseline test was conducted to screen all persons who are directly involved at running the night market – from vendors, masseurs, suppliers, and security personnel – as a measure to control the spread of the infection.

The mayor said that strict implementation of health protocols must be observed.

“But, of course, exposure is possible daily. Even though we have conducted a baseline swab, we did that just to make sure that exposures will not come from the reopening. Of course, people will go home and to the grocery, so there is exposure every day. Just like us who are reporting for work, we have possible exposure every day,” she said.

The mayor ordered the closure of the bustling night market last March 12 to curtail the spread of COVID-19, affecting a total of 498 vendors and masseurs.

Only 25 percent of the total vendors and masseurs were allowed to return to the market, taking turns every two weeks, while the new entrants would be subjected to RT-PCR tests.

The local government reopened the night market to help the livelihood of the displaced vendors.

The night market, a popular destination for street food and “ukay-ukay” (used clothes), is open at 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. from Mondays to Sundays.

The local government has implemented stricter security measures at the market, including the enforcement of one entrance and one exit.

According to the Roxas Night Market Guidelines & Protocols released by the city government, visitors will no longer be required to fill in the contact tracing forms. They will, however, be asked to show proof of identification, bags and other belongings will be checked, body temperatures will be checked, and a separate inspection cubicle has been set up for women visitors.

The visitors are discouraged from bringing backpacks, non-transparent water bottles, and jackets but are required to wear face mask and face shield except when eating or drinking, observe a two-meter physical distancing, and use foot bath and hand washing and sanitation stations. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)