3 more repatriates test positive for COVID in Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 July) – Three more of the repatriated passengers from Dhaka in Bangladesh and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to 13 as of Friday from only 10 four days ago, an official said.

Repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from Bangladesh board a bus upon their arrival at the Davao International Airport on Thursday night, July 15, 2021. At least 138 OFWs arrived in Davao City on board a Philippine Airlines flight direct from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mindanews Photo

Generose Tecson, City Tourism Office chief who is also the concurrent head of the Airport Monitoring Team, told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that three of the cases were passengers from Dhaka and 10 were from Dubai.

There were 138 passengers from Dahaka and 359 from Dubai who arrived in the city last July 15 and 18, respectively, to undergo a mandatory hotel-based quarantine.

Tecson said passengers from restricted countries need to undergo 14 days of quarantine, and passengers from non-restricted countries 10 days.

The countries included in the government’s restricted list are Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, and United Arab Emirates.

Tecson said quarantine remains mandatory even for fully vaccinated passengers.

“They are screened, but it does not matter (if they are fully vaccinated). If they come from a restricted country, then they need to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Remember, even if you’re fully vaccinated, you can still contract the virus,” she said.

She said all international travelers quarantining in the city need to undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test seven days after their arrival.

She said those who tested negative need to undergo another seven days of quarantine while those who tested positive were transferred to the tent city at the Davao International Airport for an additional 14-day mandatory isolation.

“We transferred them to our tent city, which we now use as an isolation facility for international travelers because we don’t want to mix them with our locals,” she said.

The tent city is a facility intended for COVID-19-positive international travelers undergoing isolation, she said.

She said the “test before” policy required under Ordinance No. 0477-21 for inbound passengers is still applicable to passengers of repatriation flights.

The ordinance requires passengers of incoming flights to present a negative virus test result within 24 to 72 hours before departure to this city.

In attending to passengers who test positive for COVID-19, she said frontline health workers follow the same protocols used for handling patients infected with the more infectious variants of the virus.

“All of those who are positive, we treat them like they have the variants already. We don’t think twice about that because we need to be extra careful,” she said.

As of July 29, the Department of Health-Davao reported 170 new cases, bringing the total to 30,212, with 2,603 active, 26,586 recovered, and 1,023 deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)