Davao requires PCR test for air travelers
Subscribe Now July 18, 2020 at 10:12am
This was contained in a July 16 order issued by Capt. Donaldo Mendoza, deputy director general for operations of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) upon the request of presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
In the order, the CAAP enjoined airlines to require every passenger to submit a negative result of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test done within 48 hours before a flight.
Mendoza’s order indicated that the test result is a “prerequisite for boarding at the airport of origin.”
Mendoza said the measure “is intended solely to ensure that the health and safety of the flying public are not compromised in any manner.”
The city government first proposed the measure on May 30, as a condition for reopening Davao International Airport on June 8, although it went unheeded.
One month after the airport reopened, the city is still grappling with the continued local transmission of the virus, although it has managed the spread by placing on lockdown the contaminated neighborhoods.
The number of returnees who are infected with the virus are adding to the tally of cases.
Duterte noted that from July 5 to July 13, about 47 of the 113 new cases in the city involved returnees, mostly from Metro Manila.
All returnees are subjected to a health examination at the airport. Those displaying symptoms are immediately swabbed for RT-PCR testing and await the results within 15 hours. Those who tested negative are sent home for 14-day home quarantine, while those positive will be sent to a government-run isolation facility.
In all these, the city government foots the bill.
“We have tried our best using our own resources to make sure that we identify early those who may be COVID-19 positive by instituting health screening measures for all arriving passengers. However, we now face two pressing issues: Rapidly depleting resources and increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region,” Duterte said.
As of July 15, there are now 600 confirmed cases in Davao City, 195 of these are active, 32 had died, and 373 have recovered from the disease.
Passengers who are able to board flights without showing test results will be held at Davao airport, released only when they are tested negative for the virus, with the laboratory procedure paid by the erring passengers, the city government said in a public notice.
Meanwhile, Davao de Oro Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy has sought for a two-week moratorium on the influx of returnees into his province so they can have enough time to prepare.
Uy said they would like to make sure that the province’s health personnel would not be overburdened by the arrivals.
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