Davao placed under MECQ for 15 days

Residents who were traced to have been exposed to persons who tested positive of COVID-19 undergo swab tests by City Health Office personnel at Magsaysay Park in Davao City on Friday (June 4, 2021). MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 June) – The city will be placed under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting June 5 until June 20, to control the transmission of COVID-19.

Palace spokesperson Harry S. Roque announced Friday that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved placing the city under MECQ for 15 days, instead of 25 days as requested by Mayor Sara Duterte to “allow a circuit breaker in the surge of patients inside the hospitals.”

From April 4 to May 15, 2020, the city was placed under ECQ, under GCQ from May 16 until June 30, and modified GCQ from July 1 to November 19. It reverted to GCQ on November 20, 2020 until now.

Under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines dated May 20, 2021, persons aged below 18 and above 65, pregnant women, and people with comorbidities cannot leave their residences, except for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries.

It added that individual outdoor exercises such as walking, jogging, and biking are allowed within the general area of their residences.

Gatherings are also prohibited except for provision of health, government and humanitarian services.

Religious gatherings shall also be allowed up to 10 percent of venue capacity, and may be increased by the local government up to 30 percent.

Necrological services, wakes and funerals for those who die of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed but are limited to family members.

It said that movement around the city is limited to accessing goods and services from permitted establishments, for work in such establishments, or work for such other activities allowed for areas under MECQ.

Operations of public transportation will not be hampered but active transportation such as biking is encouraged.

According to the guidelines, establishments not permitted to operate during MECQ include entertainment venues with live performers such as karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, theaters, and cinemas; recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, and similar venues;

City Health Office personnel label the swab samples taken at Magsaysay Park, Davao City on Friday (June 4, 2021) from residents who had contacts with persons who tested positive of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Amusement parks or theme parks, fairs/peryas, kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides; outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports, scrimmages, games, or activities; indoor sports courts or venues, fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centers or facilities, and swimming pools.

Operations of the following establishments are also prohibited: casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits; outdoor tourist attractions;

Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions; other personal care services which include make-up salons, medical aesthetic clinics, cosmetic or derma clinics, reflexology, aesthetics, wellness and holistic centers, and other similar establishments; acupuncture and electrocautery establishments, massage therapy including sports therapy establishments, and establishments offering tanning services, body piercings, tattooing and similar services.

It added that beauty salons, barbershops, beauty parlors, and nail spas are allowed at 30 percent capacity, outdoor dine-in services at 50 percent, and indoor dine-in services at 10 percent.

Dr. Ashley Lopez, acting head of City Health Office, told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) Wednesday that he suspected that the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases could have been caused by the presence of an “undetected” variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the infection.

He said he was alarmed that the increase in new COVID-19 cases is sudden not gradual.

“I cannot confirm this year but I suspect that there is a variant that’s going around because the increase in new cases is very fast… we have yet to receive a report from Philippine Genome Center. I believe it is because it’s seven times faster than what we had last October and November,” he said.

He said the local government opened eight additional temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMFs) with a combined bed capacity of 1,168. The additional facilities brought to 24 the total TTMFs of the city government and the bed capacity to 2,542.

Of the total, he said 16 TTMFs with 1,374 beds have been fully occupied.

Department of Health-Davao reported 248 new infections in the city on Thursday, bringing the total cases to 17,775, with 2,214 active ones, 14,796 recoveries, and 765 deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)