DAVAO CITY—Stringent quarantine measures in President Duterte’s hometown will be enforced for 15 days, including shutting down nonfood related firms, effective 9 p.m of Saturday, April 4, to restrict the movement of people and stem the surge in cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.
Mayor Sara Duterte, the President’s daughter, imposed measures designed to further avoid or minimize the gathering of people, with the city now facing a local transmission of the virus.
These include shutting down manufacturing, fabrication and construction operations that are “not pertinent to the public health emergency and state of calamity response.”
Agribusiness firms were also ordered to reduce workload and extend their deadlines for them to “significantly reduce laborers in the job site” and fulfill the recommended 2-meter distance between workers.
These measures are expected to pull a temporary brake on local economic growth. The city is the engine of growth in the Davao region, and is Mindanao’s main economic hub.
The fresh measures seek to keep the city’s 1.6 million residents at home, except for authorized household members who can go out to buy food, medicines and other essential goods.
City Hall employees are on work-from-home mode, except for those involved in social services, security, health and disaster response.
In the past few days, cases of COVID-19 infection in the city have dramatically increased. As of Thursday, 57 persons in the city have contracted the virus, 11 of whom had died, while 16 others have recovered.
The city has the most number of COVID-19 cases outside of Metro Manila, with the increase attributed to local transmission of the virus.
Several health workers, including five doctors and three nurses, also contracted the highly infectious disease while providing medical care to their patients.
“These are the reasons why we need to enforce an enhanced community quarantine. We need to bring down the number of affected in the communities and to rigorously look for them to stop the spread of the virus,” Duterte explained.
Dr. Lenny Joy Rivera, assistant director of the Department of Health in Region 11, said the measures imposed by the city government were welcomed as “all efforts have been exhausted so that the localized transmission does not progress into a community spread.”
Duterte reassured the public that while majority of the establishments will be shut down, essential shops will remain operational. Exempted from the closure order include supermarkets, public markets, food commissaries, food manufacturing, food delivery, convenience stores and sari-sari stores.
“No food industry shops will close down so there is no need to panic to the grocery store and markets,” Duterte said.
Hospitals, clinics, medical laboratories, pharmacies and other health services are also allowed to operate along with financial institutions such as banks, automated teller machine sites, money transfer, bayad centers, and savings and credit cooperatives.
A curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be enforced in the city starting on Saturday. Exempted from the curfew are health workers, food industry workers, gas station employees, convenience store staff and government workers involved in health, security, sanitation and social services.
The enhanced quarantine bans jeepneys on the road although taxis and tricycles are still allowed to operate but limited to carrying only two passengers. Apart from these, the local government will also offer free bus rides.
To ensure strict compliance, every village will set up a checkpoint to help monitor whether people on the streets are out for essential movement outside the home.
Prior to imposing the stricter measures, the city government has prepared a system for distributing ration cards, and food and medicine through subvillages and neighborhood associations.
Duterte especially ordered senior citizens, minors, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals to strictly stay at home except if they need to go to a medical facility.
However, she allowed people “to exercise or go out into the sun or get some fresh air” as long as they stay “within a few meters from their residence or dwelling.”
Journalists are also allowed to work freely without the need for government accreditation, unlike in Metro Manila.
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