Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte emphasized increase testing and faster contact tracing remain a priority to control the spread of the coronavirus disease in Davao City amid surging Covid-19 cases, especially in the National Capital Region. 

Mayor Sara said a lockdown for Davao City is not an option as it is a difficult move because it further impacts the business activities. 

“Dili ingana kadali ang mosulti ka nga mag-lockdown especially karon nga ang mga businesses nato they are spread very thinly already. Dili na siya mao ang atoang first option karon. Ang atoang [first] option karon is testing, and make sure nga paspas ang contact tracing (It is not easy to say we will lockdown, especially that our businesses are spread already spread thinly. It is not our first option now. Our first option is testing and make sure that contact tracing is fast),” she said.

Since the past weeks, Davao City has stepped up its surveillance testing in areas that are monitored and reported with high exposure and cases of Covid-19.

Mayor Sara said this is one of the measures to prevent the clustering of cases and the potential mega surge of Covid-19 cases in the city.

“We try to unahan ang clustering of cases. Makita nato didto sa contact tracing kung asa nagtrabaho or unsa’y exposure sa isa ka-tao, didto ta naga-target og surveillance swabbing and testing. Example, ang palengkes are known to be areas diin asa daghan usually ang naay exposure (We try to prevent the clustering of cases. We can see in the contact tracing where an individual work and their exposure. That is where we target surveillance swabbing and testing),” she said.

Last week the city government team conducted surveillance swabbing in Agdao Public Market and were able to test around 300 individuals. Nine (9) of them tested positive for Covid-19. All were asymptomatic and one already took her first dose of the vaccine because she works in Agdao Health Center.

The teams also prepared a schedule for surveillance in Bangkerohan Public Market and those in charge of the enforcement of the minimum public health standards has also coordinated with the City Health’s Health Group which is part of the city’s Covid-19 Task Force Response Cluster for the names of establishments and schedule for surveillance.

Mayor Sara said that there should be a daily schedule of targeted areas and targeted high-risk areas based on risk classification and areas where there are high cases of Covid-19 cases based on reports, even in those without cases.

“We will test as much as we can. The challenge karon is paunsa nato ma-convince ang mga tao nga magpa-testing bisan pa man og wala sila’y gibati nga symptoms because since kaniadto hantod karon duna gihapoy resistance ang mga tao (The challenge now is how to convince people to have a test even if they don’t have symptoms because there have been resistance before and until now),” she said.

Regular testing for close contacts of Covid-19 positive patients or F1 is also continuously conducted. Mayor Sara said that the city is trying to expand the testing for F2 and F3 with the help of the Safe Davao QR.

“Kaniadto ang F2 ug F3, dili nato gina-testing. Atoa lang silang ginapa-standby and self-monitor and kung mag-positive ang F1 ayha pa sila i-refer for testing. Pero karon gina-try nato og reach out ang atong testing until F2 and F3 close contacts (We don’t test F2 and F3 before. They were only advised to standby and self-monitor and if the F1 turns out positive that’s when they will be referred for testing. Now we are trying to reach out our testing until F2 and F3 close contacts),” Mayor Sara said.

Davao City also re-imposed the mandatory testing before entry to Davao City via the Francisco Bangoy International Airport under the City Ordinance No. 0477-21 to prevent the entry of Covid-19 variants in the city. CIO