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IATF exec says less restriction being mulled for Davao City

Davao City is on pace to shift to the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) after June 30 if there is no sudden surge in cases in the next few days.

However, in a text message to TIMES on Sunday, Interior and Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año clarified that the National Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease has not released the final list yet.

In Mindanao, only Davao City and Zamboanga City remained under the general community quarantine until June 30 due to the high number of COVID-19 cases.

Año, also the IATF vice chairman, said the term MGCQ is the lowest form of quarantine, which will be observed in “low-risk” provinces and cities.

Despite the label, it doesn’t entail any strict stay-at-home measures. But it does require the continued adoption of health guidelines like wearing of face masks, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing.

Recently, the government has introduced a new form of quarantine to save economies with high numbers of coronavirus cases from enhanced community quarantine to Modified ECQ, general community quarantine, and MGCQ.

In a separate interview, Col. Kirby John Kraft, Davao City Police Office director, said they expect more establishments to open under the MGCQ, which makes their jobs more difficult. But he added that the quarantine control points will remain in place.

“Because there is still quarantine, there are restrictions of movement,” he said. “The curfew and liquor bans will still be there unless the mayor (Sara Duterte) will release a new executive order.”

Currently, there are 44 quarantine control points manned by the police and Task Force Davao in the different areas in the city, mostly located near wet markets.

“If going outside houses are not essential then don’t go out since our unseen enemy is still there,” he added.

As of 5 p.m. on June 27, the Department of Health-Davao Center for Health Development reported two new cases of COVID-19 in the region, with one coming from Davao City and another from Davao del Norte. The region has 505 total confirmed patients so far.

Davao City, meanwhile, has 403 total confirmed COVID-19 patients with 291 recoveries and 26 deaths, bringing the total active cases to 86.

Mayor Sara Duterte earlier said that Davao City’s economy could not absorb a sustained lockdown due to the pandemic, as she enjoined the public to prepare for the new normal. For instance, she has hinted that the Roxas Night Market, which has become a tourist destination, might reopen sooner than later, although with fewer vendors.

She also reminded Davaoeños to follow four simple practices to minimize exposure to COVID-19, and they are: staying at home, wearing masks in public places, maintaining six-foot distance from another person, and frequent handwashing.

“Kung mangutana ang mga tao kung unsa ang ilang matabang o mabuhat para ma-control ang transmission sa sakit nga COVID-19, mao na siya atong matabang. Very simple, easy to do, it’s not expensive and doable siya nga mga butang para sa atoa (If people ask how they can help or what they can do to control the transmission of COVID-19. That is how they can help. Very simple, easy to do, it’s not expensive and doable things for us),” she said in an interview over the Davao City Disaster Radio on Friday.

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