DAVAO CITY – Local authorities here will secure the porous borders of Davao City to deter the entry of travelers from other countries into the city through the backdoors in light of the discovery of a more infectious variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United Kingdom, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Monday.
Duterte told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that although international flights have not yet resumed, the local government anticipated the possibility of travelers entering the city either by land or sea travel.
“Those who are entering the city from other countries will probably come in through backdoors and they are probably traveling by land or by banca from their destination going to our region, and to our city,” she said.
She said the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency will meet to devise ways on how to prevent these travelers from going into the city undetected.
The new variant is worrisome as it can infect more persons and overwhelm the health system, according to Duterte.
The local chief executive revealed that authorities here initially discussed establishing a separate facility where overseas travelers arriving in the city will be quarantined for 14 days.
But she said it did not push through after the national government announced it would require travelers from countries with confirmed cases of the new variant to undergo quarantine in the National Capital Region after undergoing a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
“What can we do to avoid getting infected? It’s the same. We need to use the mask, we need to do physical distancing, and we need to frequently wash our hands with soap and water. And, of course, since we have a general community quarantine and quarantine there means ‘stay home,’ if you have no work, if you have no business outside to attend to, and if you have no need for accessing essential goods and services,” she added.
She said the local government is also anticipating a surge next month due to gatherings during Christmas holidays.
She reminded Dabawenyos to celebrate the New Year with family members who live in the same household.
As of December 28, Department of Health-Davao reported a total of 12,209 COVID-19 cases in the region, with 1,839 active, 9,883 recoveries, and 487 deaths.
Of the total cases, Davao City reported 8,592, Davao de Oro 593, Davao del Norte 1,501, Davao del Sur 867, Davao Occidental 123, and Davao Oriental 533.