Transmission of Omicron sub-variant in Davao City 'just a matter of time' – city health official

Published May 19, 2022, 4:59 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The transmission of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in Davao City might just be a matter of time, the local task force for Covid-19 said.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesperson for Davao City Covid-19 Task Force, told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that the entry of this more infectious Omicron sub-variant in the city cannot be prevented even with strict border control.

“We are anticipating that it’s just a matter of time. It will come whether we impose stricter border control measures as the virus will still find its way here, as it did before, because we cannot see the virus,” she said.

The city has 14 active cases as of May 15, according to Schlosser.

She said the local government finds it difficult to detect the carriers of the virus, many of whom are asymptomatic while others hide their mild symptoms.

“Now that we have a variant, now I can really assure the public that we are prepared in Davao City because we have already in place strategies that we can activate in case of a spike in the number of cases,” she said.

She said the city’s strategies, including, swabbing, quarantine, isolation, and contact tracing are not suspended even though active cases are low at present.

She added the task force is also expecting an increase in Covid-19 cases by the third week of this month due to activities related to the recently concluded May 9 National and Local elections.

“We are waiting for a two-week period from the elections if it will have an effect on our cases,” she said.

The local government is also doubling its efforts to reach out to more residents for booster shots, she said.

To be able to vaccinate as many as possible, the city has started mobile vaccination for government offices and also targeting workers, business process outsourcing, banks, restaurants, malls, and other private establishments.

“What we are strengthening right now is making sure all residents get vaccinated before this variant will cause us trouble,” she said.

She said although there is not much information available on this Omicron sub-variant, it is preventable through wearing of face masks.

She said local authorities are intensifying the implementation of Ordinance No. 0307-20, penalizing the non-wearing of face masks in public places.

Under the ordinance, a fine of P500 is imposed for the first offense; P2,000 for a second offense; and P5,000 or one-month imprisonment for the third offense.