DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 May) – COVID-19 cases across Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities have breached the 70,000-mark since the pandemic struck last year, with Davao City recording the highest overall but Zamboanga City tops in active cases.
As of May 8, Davao City recorded a total of 14,824 cases, almost twice the number of Zamboanga City’s 7,462. But according to the Department of Health’s Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) in the Davao region, Davao City has only 455 active cases while Zamboanga City has 2,073, according to the Zamboanga Task Force COVID-19.
Of 14,824 cases in Davao City, 13,671 are recoveries and 698 are deaths. Of 7,462 cases in Zamboanga City, 5,102 are recoveries and 287 are deaths.
Four variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 — from UK (B.1.1.7), from South Africa (B.1351), from Brazil (P.1) and from the Philippines (P.3) – have been detected in some areas in Mindanao but they have since recovered, according to the DOH-CHD in the regions of Davao, Northern Mindanao, Caraga and Soccsksargen.
The national Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in its Resolution 113-A on April 29 placed the cities of Davao, Iligan and Marawi and Lanao del Sur under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) while the rest, including Zamboanga City, were placed under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) until May 31 but evening of May 5, Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco announced the city will be placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), from May 8 “until such time the cases subside.”
The national IATF’s Resolution 114-A issued on May 6 said Zamboanga City will be under MECQ until May 14.
Zamboanga City’s Local Task Force COVID-19, had earlier appealed to the national IATF to place the city under a “stricter quarantine level” – either ECQ or MECQ — due to a spike in cases, and hospitals as well as local government-managed isolation facilities were already full and healthcare workers were “getting overwhelmed.”
Mayor Climaco issued a series of executive orders, among them requiring travelers to the city, “including fully vaccinated individuals,” to present negative RT-PCR test results, “whether saliva or nasopharyngeal;” another creating a task force in the barangays to ensure minimum health protocols are observed.
Climaco also ordered the closure of beaches, beach resorts, inland water resorts, establishments with pools from May 1 to May 15 “to prevent the unnecessary congregation of people amidst the alarming increase of COVID-19 cases in the city.”
In the banking industry, the Zamboanga City Bankers and Financiers Association Inc., shortened the working hours of its member-banks to only four hours, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. effective May 3.
Mindanao’s COVID-19 cases breached the 70,000-mark on May 1, recording a total of 70,305 from 69,790 a day earlier.
The DOH-CHD in Region 9 or the Zamboanga Peninsula, which has the highest number of active cases in Mindanao, is always late in posting its COVID-19 report on its Facebook page. Its April 22 and 23 reports, for example, were posted only on April 26. It posted its April 30 report on May 4 and its May 4 report on May 7. It has yet to post its May 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 reports.
The Zamboanga Task Force COVID-19 also posts updates on the city’s cases, usually a day late.
As of May 4, the five regional DOH offices in Mindanao and the Ministry of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, recorded a total of 72,057 cases with the Davao region posting the highest number at 23,613 (874 active, 21,752 recoveries and 987 deaths) followed by Northern Mindanao with 14,499 cases (106 admitted, 1.265 outpatient, 12,659 recoveries and 469 deaths), Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) with 10,756 cases (2,824 active, 7,546 recoveries and 381 deaths), Caraga with 10,335 cases (938 active, 9,043 recoveries and 354 deaths), Region 12 (Soccsksargen) with 7,693 (839 active, 6,594 recoveries and 258 deaths) and 5,161 in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (402 active, 4,570 recoveries and 189 deaths).
By May 8, the number of cases in Region 10 had reached 15,034; in Region 11 24,093; in Region 12, 8,130; in Caraga, 10,783; and 5,301 in the Bangsamoro.
The regional DOH in Zamboanga Peninsula has yet to post its May 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 reports.
Davao City recorded a total of 14,620 cases as of May 4 (356 active, 13,573 recoveries and 691 deaths). On May 8, the city reported 14,824 cases (455 active, 13,671 recoveries and 698 deaths).
The Regional IATF and Regional Task Force against COVID-19 in the Davao region issued a joint resolution on May 3, regulating entry and exit in its boundaries with other regions.
According to records from the DOH in Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga City has been recording double and triple digit new cases in the past few days. MindaNews noted that in seven days – from April 28 to May 4 – the city recorded an increase of 803 cases, from 6,088 on April 28 to 6,891 on May 4.
Within the same period, according to the DOH regional offices, Cagayan de Oro’s new cases rose from 4,819 to 5,110 or 291 more; Davao City’s from 14,410 to 14,620 or 210 more, General Santos City from 2,440 to 2,531 or 91 more, and Cotabato City’s according to the MOH, rose from 1,348 to 1405 or 57 more.
By May 8, Zamboanga City’s cases had reached 7,462; Cagayan de Oro recorded 5,347; Davao City 14,824; General Santos, 2,651 and Cotabato City, 1445.
Cotabato resumed its “No Movement Sunday” effective May 9. “Just like before, all establishments will be closed and everyone is advised to stay at home. Only pharmacies and drug stores are allowed to operate to accommodate medical and emergency needs,” the city government announced.
Vaccination of senior citizens has started in several areas in Mindanao, including the cities of Zamboanga, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro and Cotabato but there is no schedule yet for Davao City’s seniors [see other story]. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)