“Surveillance” virus test set for street vendors in Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 April) – The city government has scheduled a series of “community surveillance swab testing” for vendors in areas within the central business district, including “Chinatown,” on April 16 and 19, an official said.

Paul Bermejo, head of Ancillary Services Unit of City Government of Davao, said the City Health Office has scheduled free testing starting 8 a.m. on Friday for street vendors in “Chinatown”, including Sta. Ana Avenue, Monteverde Avenue, Ramon Magsaysay Street, and Quezon Boulevard at Magsaysay Park.

Another free testing has been scheduled for street vendors around People’s Park, San Pedro Street, Bolton Street, and Magallanes Street starting 8 a.m. on Monday in front of the City Hall of Davao, he said.

He urged the vendors to participate in the swabbing activity to know whether or not they are infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to stem the spread of the infection.

He assured the Moro merchants, who are observing the Holy Month of Ramadan, that it will not interfere with their religious practices because getting the needed specimen will not take so much time.

He said swabbed vendors will not be put on quarantine.

The city government will distribute food pack containing rice and canned goods to individuals after getting swabbed, according to Bermejo.

“The swabbing will just be quick, maybe it will be just a minute. You can return to your stalls afterwards,” he said.

He said a team from his office was tasked to assist the contact-tracers in listing the names of street vendors who are willing to undergo the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test.

Under Executive Order 18, the local government ordered surveillance swabbing and monitoring of persons suffering from influenza-like illness such like cough, fever, and colds in the communities.

Health authorities have been directed to make a regular schedule of surveillance swabbing in business and commercial establishments, public places, government offices, private offices and agencies, closed facilities such as jails, and other barangays and areas deemed high-risk by the City Health Office.

Under Executive Order 20, the local government ordered “mandatory swab testing” of all close contacts, including the second and third generation contacts, of an index case.

Individuals are considered “first generation” close contacts or F1 when they come in direct contact with an active case. “Second generation” or F2 are persons who have direct contact with F1, while “third generation” or F3 are the close contacts of F2.

As of April 14, the Department of Health-Davao reported 79 new infections, bringing the total cases to 22,483, with 926 active ones, 20,596 recoveries, and 961 deaths in the region.

Of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 incidence in Mindanao, tallied 14,125 cases, with 387 active ones, 13,056 recoveries, and 682 deaths.

Davao de Oro reported 1,452 cases, Davao del Norte 3,787, Davao del Sur 1,513, Davao Occidental 221, and Davao Oriental 1,385. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)