The Davao City COVID-19 Task Force said it is ready to face new COVID-19 variants that might enter the city, including the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, which has entered the Philippines after it was detected in 14 individuals – 11 foreign tourists, two Metro Manila residents, and one resident of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, the spokesperson of the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, said, “Now that we have that variant, I can really assure the public that prepared man gyud ang Davao City. Ato pong ginabalik-balik diri, we already have in place strategies. Ang atoang buhaton nalang push button nalang kung unsa tong applicable at the moment na magkaroon ta og surge o kung naay pagspike sa cases (Now that we have that variant, I can really assure the public that Davao City has prepared for this. As we have been saying here, all our strategies are in place. All we have to do is to use to push the button or whatever is applicable when there is a surge or spike of cases).”

Speaking during the COVID-19 Alert program of 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, she said they have been anticipating the entry of new COVID-19 variants.

She said that despite the heightened border control, new variants cannot be prevented from entering the country and the city as the disease is not visible; some of those infected have symptoms while others don’t; and those who manifest symptoms even hide it and don’t get themselves tested.

The city health official reiterated that the city did not change its strategies and will continue using the PDITR+ (Prevent, Detect, Isolation, Treat, Reintegration plus Vaccination).

“Wala ta’y gitanggal na mga COVID-19 response such as atong swabbing, quarantine and isolation, atong contact tracing naa man gihapon. All of those are in line with our PDITR plus. Kay wala kaayo ta’y cases, atong gipahugtan ang atoang promotion ug pagpasabot sa tao kung unsa ka importante ang vaccination (We did not remove anything from our COVID-19 response such as swabbing, quarantine and isolation, and contact tracing. All of those are in line with our PDITR plus. Since we only have a few COVID-19 cases, we are intensifying our promotion and awareness on the importance of vaccination),” Dr. Schlosser said.

As of May 13, 2022, Davao City logged a total of 1,312,211 fully vaccinated Dabawenyos from the 1,330,176 who received their first doses.

Of the 1,312,211 who got their primary doses, at least 254,679 got their first booster shot. Only 2,805, however, were administered with the second booster jabs.

Dr. Schlosser said the City Government of Davao continues with its mobile vaccinations, not just in the barangays but also in public and private establishments, including government offices. Vaccination hubs are also located in strategic areas in the city for the pediatric five to 11 years old, 12 to 17, and 18-above population age groups.

Meanwhile, she added that the attributes of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 are still being studied by experts. And just like Omicron, it is highly transmissible.

“Diba ang Omicron halos gidoble nya tong other variants. Although less likely ang death atong Omicron, if you’re a part of the vulnerable sector high-risk gihapon ka. It’s very infectious, same lang gihapon. Pero ang transmission is preventable through wearing of face mask. That’s the reason why we still implement the minimum public health standard of the wearing of face masks (Remember that Omicron almost doubled the cases of other variants. Although death is less likely with Omicron, if you’re part of the vulnerable sector, you remain at high risk. It’s very infectious just the same. But the transmission is preventable through the wearing of face masks),” she said.

The Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, according to her, has discussed intensifying the apprehension of those who don’t wear face masks to instill in them the importance of wearing them.

She also reiterated, “Importante gyud because ang pag wear og face mask (It’s really important because face mask wearing) prevents the transmission of the disease and the only way to prevent the severity of the disease is to have ourselves vaccinated.”

Check this week’s operational vaccination sites here 👉 https://www.facebook.com/davaocitygov/posts/150757400799508. CIO