Davao not keen on relaxing quarantine status with virus infections on the rise

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 January) – The city is not keen on sliding from general community quarantine into modified GCQ with the number of COVID-19 cases expected to continue rising in the coming weeks, a health official said Wednesday.

Davao City Health COVID-19 focal person Dr. Ashley Lopez said over the city government-run Davao City Disaster Radio that the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the city will still be felt until mid-February.

Davao City reverted to General Community Quarantine on November 20, 2020 supposedly to control the spread of COVID-19. From November 20, 2020 to January 8, 2021, the city’s cases rose from 5,607 to 9,404 or a total of 3,797 more cases. By January 9, with 153 more cases, the reached 3,950.

“As of karon, ang effectivity sa atong GCQ until January 31. Naga-hope lang ko nga unta dili lang ta maglevel-down to MGCQ kay murag lisod pa kaayo tungod sa atong current cases karon diri sa Davao. Daghan daghan pa (As of now, the effectivity of our GCQ is until January 31. I am hoping that we will not level down to MGCQ because it is still difficult given our current cases here in Davao. We still have many),” he said.

“Because if you look at the positivity sa Davao, ang threshold man gud anang positivity rate is five percent or less according to WHO (World Health Organization),” he said.

He pointed out that from January 10 to 24 this year, the positivity rate in the city was still high, 11.8 percent.

He said this means a higher capability of transmission in the community where 50 percent of COVID-19 cases came from.

Lopez added the positivity rate means the city could not be that confident in allowing residents to go out and risk getting the disease.

As of January 26, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Center for Health Development has recorded a total of 167 new COVID-19 cases in the region.

Ninety-nine of the cases were from Davao City, bringing the total number of positives in the city to 11,166, and the active ones to 1,482.

The health department has also recorded 15 deaths in the region due to the virus, 10 of which were from Davao City and the five others from the province of Davao del Norte.

Lopez said the number of fatalities is the highest recorded per day in the city, “which accounts for about 4.6 percent of our total cases.”

The city now has a total of 522 recorded deaths due to COVID-19.

Lopez said that even with Resolution No. 95 issued January 21 by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowing individuals 10 to 65 years old outside of their residences for areas placed under MGCQ, the city is still not ready to adapt such guidelines should the city be placed under the same quarantine status.

“Because as I said, we’re trying to intensify our preventive measures particularly that since January 4, our cases have been increasing,” he said, noting that the positive cases in the city have reached at least 100 per day.

“We are appealing to the people because although we are so anxious and excited to come out, our situation here in Davao City is still not that safe to adopt such new guidelines,” he said in mixed English and Cebuano.

He said that although the IATF is authorized to determine the quarantine status of an area, the local chief executive “has the power to also recommend” the course of action to be implemented.

“If you’d ask me, in my own personal opinion, I prefer that we remain under GCQ while our cases continue to increase,” he said. (Warren Elijah Valdez/MindaNews)