DAVAO ORIENTAL – Private vehicles outside Davao Oriental, particularly from areas that are still under Enhanced Community Quarantine like Davao City, will not be allowed entry in the province throughout the entire period of the General Community Quarantine here.
This is the recommendation of the Provincial Task Force on COVID-19 in reference to the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“The only way to enter the province is through Oplan Sundo. Only those rescued by the Oplan Sundo as well as individuals considered as frontliners will be allowed entry in the province,” said Dr. Reden Bersaldo, Action Officer of the PTF on COVID-19.
He said that while Davao City, which is still under ECQ, has recently announced “to ease its lockdown restrictions” on May 8, allowing private vehicles to pick up stranded relatives, re-entry of these vehicles to the province will not be permitted.
Dr. Bersalso asked for the people’s patience and understanding as the province “will not take chances” amidst the threat of the spread of the coronavirus. “Even if we want everyone to be fetched, screening of all these residents is still not feasible,” said Dr. Bersaldo, noting that the Provincial Task Force understand the frustrations and clamor of the people but the province must remain firm on its policy in order to keep the virus at bay.
“If we allow everyone to go home, our quarantine facilities cannot hold them all,” he said, adding that there is a huge threat that the swarm of individuals who will come in will not be monitored due to the limited number of manpower to do the surveillance and monitoring.
“There’s a huge chance that these people aboard private vehicles will not be properly screened. They might also evade surveillance and go straight to their homes in the communities, thus, exposing the people in the community,” adding that it would defeat the whole purpose of the proper screening and quarantine protocols.
He underscored that only through the Oplan Sundo can the province be assured that proper health protocols are being practiced since all individuals are accounted for and proper health protocols are being made as passengers are properly assessed and are made to sign an agreement for quarantine and swab testing.
Since last week, the province has already started its risk testing using RT-PCR of all individuals rescued under the Oplan Sundo. “All of them have been tested by swabbing through RT-PCR which is the gold standard test wherein we can say if a person is positive to the virus or not,” he said.
As per the latest report, 95 Persons Under Monitoring and 12 COVID-suspects were tested. The first batch of results came in which all tested negative. Those who tested negative are immediately sent home. “However, if the individual turns out positive, he or she will be sent immediately to the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City,” said Dr. Bersaldo, noting that with the proper health protocols being practiced, contamination is much lesser compared to instances when private individuals are allowed entry through private vehicle.
As of Thursday, there were already 115 individuals who have successfully availed of the Oplan Sundo program out of 3,000 applicants. Most of these individuals are students and Overseas Filipino Workers. These individuals were immediately transferred to Quarantine Centers and consequently tested.
The next batches of stranded individuals set to be rescued are those who lost their jobs due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
This policy was also agreed during the recent meeting of Governor Nelson Dayanghirang with the local chief executives of the municipalities and city as they adopted President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 112, s. 2020. By Karen Lou Deloso