DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 March) – The City Government of Davao will implement a “test before travel” for all in-bound passengers starting March 23, amid the surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the increasing of cases of new variants in National Capital Region and Cebu, City Tourism Officer Generose Tecson said.
Tecson told MindaNews that arriving passengers will need to present a “negative” result of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test or result of a saliva test administered by the Philippine Red Cross, within 72 hours before flying to Davao International Airport (DIA).
Tecson is the concurrent head of the Airport Monitoring Team.
According to her, all in-bound passengers must strictly comply with the test requirement before flying to the city because the local government would no longer offer a free swab test.
Before the city government suspended the RT-PCR requirement last January 13, air passengers were given the option to undertake the swab test upon arrival at the airport for free.
She said the same requirement will also be imposed on land travelers from Luzon and Visayas. Tecson has yet to respond as to how the local authorities would vet individuals entering the borders of the city.
Dr. Ashley Lopez, City Health Office (CHO) head, told MindaNews on Sunday that compliance of the passengers must be checked at the airport of origin before boarding.
For as long as passengers are able to present a negative RT-PCR test result, he said the 14-day mandatory home quarantine will not be made mandatory but only “encouraged.”
He added that the passengers should have a Safe Davao QR (DQR) code upon arrival.
“The mayor will release a new executive order for all of these. Let’s just monitor,” he said.
Health authorities in the country detected an increasing cases of South African and UK variants in the NCR and Cebu, including the latest variant called “P-3” that was first detected in the Philippines.
As of March 20, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 121 new cases, bringing the total cases to 21,023 with 848 active, 19,274 recoveries, and 901 deaths in the region.
Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 13,522 cases, with 326 active, 12,538 recoveries, and 658 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,285 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,284, Davao del Sur with 1,416, Davao Occidental with 220, and Davao Oriental with 1,296. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)