Mayor Sara apprehensive about placing Davao under MGCQ

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 Feb) – Mayor Sara Duterte remains apprehensive about downgrading the quarantine status of Davao City from general community quarantine (GCQ) to modified GCQ (MGCQ), saying that bringing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases down in the previous months was not easy.

Mayor Sara Duterte. Photo from the City Government of Davao Facebook page

During her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte recalled that efforts to manage the COVID-19 surge took three months before the city finally saw a down trending in the number of COVID-19 cases starting early this month.

“Our surge started in October last year and it went on from November, to December, to January, and it is only now that our cases are going down. So, if we were to base it on history, we know what’s going to be the effect of MGCQ,” she said.

She added that the latest quarantine classification will be decided by the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), subject to appeal by the local government.

But should the task force decide to de-escalate the city’s quarantine status, Duterte said she is anticipating that the city will experience again a surge as it did when it was placed under MGCQ from July 1 until November 19, 2020.

The city was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from April 4 to May 15 and GCQ from May 16 until June 30. It was reverted to GCQ on November 20 after seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The mayor said Davao is now more prepared should the IATF place the city under MGCQ. “We know better because we have already experienced it, and bringing the cases down was difficult. It’s not that easy,” she said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte disapproved the proposal to place the entire country under a less restrictive MGCQ, pending the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Davao City Health Office (CHO) acting head Dr. Ashley Lopez said the local government of Davao is eyeing to bring down the new daily COVID-19 cases in the city to single-digit growth after health authorities here have seen a decreasing number of confirmed cases starting February 3, which marked the end of the post-holiday surge.

As of February 23, DOH-Davao Region reported 68 new cases, bringing the total cases to 19,589, with 1,589 active, 17,175 recoveries, and 825 deaths in the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 12,832 cases, with 748 active, 11,458 recoveries, and 626 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,117 cases, Davao del Norte with 2,898, Davao del Sur with 1,309, Davao Occidental with 211, and Davao Oriental with 1,222.

He said that occupancy rate in the city’s COVID-19 facility averages from 19% to 23%. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)