Mayor Sara OKs travelers from NorMin amid Delta variant threats

Published July 20, 2021, 5:00 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The City Government of Davao will not ban travelers coming from Northern Mindanao even after six cases of the dreaded Delta variant or B.1.617.2 were detected there, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Monday.

Instead of a travel ban, Duterte told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that the local government would continue to enforce the existing protocols, including the “symptoms screening” at the border checkpoint.

“We’re discussing travel from CDO (Cagayan de Oro) because, as I said, we don’t know who is asymptomatic because the COVID-19 virus is invisible to the naked eye and we also can’t determine what kind of variant,” she said.

The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the presence of five cases in Cagayan de Oro and one in Gingoog, Misamis of locally transmitted Delta variant, considered a variant of concern and first detected in India.

She said no additional instructions were provided to enforcers manning the regional checkpoint in Marilog District, located at the boundary with Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao region.

Duterte said she is not discounting the possibility that the Delta variant may have already found its way to the city since not all specimens from the city are being sent for genome sequencing at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

She added the consistent observance of minimum public health standards such as wearing of facemask, distancing, and handwashing as well as vaccination against COVID-19 will work against the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant in the community, lowering the risk of hospitalization.

Last month, the DOH-Davao confirmed two out of three cases of Alpha variant or B.1.1.7, first detected in the UK, and five out of 11 cases of Beta variant or B.1.351 in the region were detected in Davao City.