Davao City Reverts To GCQ
The new quarantine qualification is effective immediately until Nov. 30.
The city of Davao was placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) effective Friday, Nov. 20 until Nov. 30 following the rise of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the city.
Melquiades Feliciano, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 for the cities and Bacolod and Cebu, has been assigned to head the Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic (CODE) teams that will be deployed in Davao City to assist in the response activities, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said on Friday, Nov. 20.
A One Hospital Command Center will likewise be established in the city to ensure an efficient referral system as private hospitals are mandated to increase their ward bed occupancy by at least 20 percent to 30 percent.
Further, efforts will be made to address the shortage of nurses in health facilities and to provide additional high-oxygen cannulae, Favipiravir (Avigan), Remdesivir, medical equipment, among others.
Accommodation establishments will be tapped to serve as quarantine facilities for health workers as well as the isolation of positive cases of COVID-19.
Law enforcement agencies are directed to assist in the enforcement of granular lockdowns upon affected communities or clusters, and if necessary, deploy personnel in the city.
In a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 19, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved, subject to conditions, the conduct of a nationwide Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Consumer Payments Survey; the adoption of the guidelines for the conduct of onsite, written, oral and practical specialty and subspecialty examinations issued by the Philippine Medical Association; and the onsite conduct of the 2020 Foreign Service Officer Examinations on Dec. 15 to 17, 2020.
Also, the IATF removed the requirement for air carriers to reserve a portion of the aircraft cabin as an isolation area for suspected COVID-19 cases and ill passengers on board as part of the COVID-19 health protocols for domestic flights.
On the other hand, local government units (LGUs) are instructed to relax entry protocols such as test-upon-arrival requirement imposed upon airline crew layovers/positioning due to emergency situations that include typhoons, volcanic activities, diversions and emergency landings, and other similar unforeseen and time-sensitive evacuations.
Airline crew members are also permitted to temporarily billet in accommodation establishments under a “bubble” concept supervised by the LGUs.
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is also authorized to set up a corporate jet flight maintenance and crew layover hub at the Subic Special Economic and Freeport Zone under a strict “bubble” concept.
Foreign nationals with visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration pursuant to Section 9(d) of Commonwealth Act No. 613, as amended; and those with visas issued by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and Clark Development Corporation may be allowed entry into the Philippines beginning Nov. 1, 2020.
Finally, age restrictions, for those below 15 years old and those who are over 65 under MGCQ, who are travelling for tourism purposes may be relaxed upon the determination of the LGUs and guidelines to be issued by the Department of Tourism, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Independent experts earlier raised alarm over the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the cities of Baguio and Davao, which they described as “hotspots of serious concern.”
“The surge in COVID-19 cases in these areas is significant,” the OCTA Research group, a team of academics from the University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, said in its latest monitoring report released on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The DOH confirmed the rising cases in Baguio and Davao cities and that it is closely monitoing the situation.
On Thursday, the DOH reported that the rise of COVID cases in Davao City "is continuous as of this time" and this is apparently due to transmission in communities and closed settings.
Davao City, the DOH said, has been classified as "medium risk" based based on average daily attack rate (ADAR) and the two-week growth rate (2WGR).
"Davao region’s critical care is at 72 percent as of the latest report," the DOH further noted.
The DOH said part of its monitoring activities is to identify areas where an increase in cases affecting a significant percentage of the population have been observed.
Rise in COVID cases has been observed in Baguio City last October, but DOH said the situation there has already improved.
The DOH urged LGUs to strictly enforce minimum health and safety standards and conduct exposure screening in borders, workplaces and other closed settings.
Some LGUs have decreased or maintained low risk level by observing preventive measures, the DOH said. "This is a positive signal that we are controlling transmission and we have identified what effectively slowed down COVID transmission," the DOH added.