DAVAO CITY — Mayor Sara Duterte said Davao City may revert to general community quarantine (GCQ) from modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting July 16, subject to appeal by the local government, after it was observed that transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission has hastened under more lenient quarantine measures.
During an interview aired over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday, Duterte said the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease informed her before the end of the 15-day MGCQ period on Wednesday that the body has recommended reinstating GCQ in the city amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
But local chief executive added the city government of Davao would appeal to the IATF to maintain the implementation of the MGCQ.
“We will try to appeal because there is a remedy allowed for the LGUs (local government units) to appeal their classification, so we will try to appeal that based on data that the IATF requested from us, in Davao City, but if our appeal to keep us in MGCQ will be denied, may I request everyone, we have a July 2, 2020 version of the Omnibus guidelines, to review it to remind themselves what will happen under a GCQ,” she said.
As of July 12, Department of Health-Davao recorded 15 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 756 with 35 deaths and 456 recoveries. Of the total cases, 562 are in Davao City, 72 in Davao del Norte, 29 in Davao del Sur, 42 in Davao de Oro, 47 in Davao Oriental, and four in Davao Occidental.
“That’s what will happen if we continue to ignore the health protocols that we are implementing,” she said.
She urged the Dabawenyos to stay at home, unless they are working or need to go out to buy food and medicines; wear face-masks in public places, observe physical distancing, and practice frequent handwashing with soap.
“Because the government cannot look after you 24 hours, you should have that ‘stay at home’ mentality because we have a quarantine, and what we are trying to do is to reduce the number of positives. We need to reduce the number of positive cases so that we will not overwhelm our hospitals,” she added.
She said local health authorities reported a sudden increase in the number of cases over the last four days.
Duterte said she was already anticipating the surge in COVID-19 cases from the time the city shifted from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to GCQ last April 4, as well as the increase in the cases of local transmission; and arrivals of locally stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipinos who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The entire city was placed under ECQ from April 4 to May 15, GCQ from May 16 until June 30, and MGCQ last July 1.
Under more lenient quarantine guidelines, she said several people were reporting back to work as many business establishments resumed operations.
“It’s a mishmash of several factors why it is increasing but we are already expecting that it will increase. In fact, after we were placed under MGCQ, I told you that I was surprised because our cases were increasing at that time, last July 1,” she said.
She appealed to locals to strictly adhere to basic health protocols to protect themselves and their family members from the infection as there will be a “ripple effect” if they lower their guard against COVID-19.
“As I said, the action one person will affect the entire city. So, if we have 10 persons who are not wearing masks and 10 persons who go out not for work or for buying food and medicines, and then they get infected, they will add up to the numbers plus the household members whom they will infect,” she said.