1,400 contact tracers to be deployed in Davao City

Published October 28, 2020, 12:57 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – Around 1,400 contact-tracers will be deployed in this city in a bid to hasten the detection of individuals infected with the highly infectious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We were given 1,400 contact-tracers from DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), and they will be trained to do contract-tracing so we can make it faster,” Mayor Sara Duterte said.

Duterte also said the city was set to roll out an electronic contact-tracing system called Safe Davao QR.

She said the system would allow contact-tracers to easily determine establishments that have been visited by COVID-19-positive individuals.

“Once a person is confirmed positive, the establishments that the person had visited will be in the system and, from the list, we can see the date and time. It’s faster that way since the data are electronic,” she said.

She said another reason why the local government wanted to pursue the QR code system was to limit the non-essential movement of the people amid the surge in the COVID-19 cases.

The Davao City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Mindanao, logged 3,290 out of the 4,863 confirmed total cases in Davao Region as of October 27, according to the Department of Health-Davao.

Of this total, 285 were reported in Davao de Oro, 527 in Davao del Norte, 336 in Davao del Sur, 97 in Davao Occidental, and 328 in Davao Oriental.

The region reported 1,067 total active cases, 3,619 recoveries, and 177 deaths.

Duterte urged the government offices, private offices, and business establishments to require their clients to have their codes scanned before entry.

“That will depend on the offices and establishments because if they do not require them to scan, then they will not have a record for contact-tracing. So, we need the support and cooperation of everyone—government and private offices and establishments,” she said.

Duterte expressed frustration over the failure of the Dabawenyos to “self-regulate” under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) despite her incessant reminders for the people to adhere to minimum health standards.

She said there were people, who continue to violate the protocols by going out for “non-essential activities” such as going to gatherings or meeting friends in public places.

“The people have forgotten that there is a community quarantine. Therefore, all of us should stay at home, except for essential goods and services, or for work and business. What’s happening now is that a lot of people are going out—they gather outside and catch-up there at coffee shops. There goes our self-regulation. Failed. Davao City has failed,” Duterte said.

Duterte released Executive Order 57, regulating “mass gatherings and prohibiting non-essential travel within Davao City and for other purposes until December 31, 2020.”

“There is a need to limit the movement of the people in Davao City to accessing essential goods and services or for work or business—work also includes business—but only in keeping with the purpose of the community quarantine,” she said.