Davao City offers free RT-PCR test for passengers arriving at Davao airport

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2020   •   317

Air passengers bound for Davao City now have two options to comply with the requirement to present their 72-hour negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result prior to boarding their flight, the city government said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the local government said that passengers may now opt to take the RT-PCR test at the airport or their place of origin at their own cost.

They may also choose to take a free RT-PCR test at the Davao International Airport and prepare to wait inside a holding facility for the results for 24 hours to 48 hours.

The new options were presented after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s meeting with the members of the National Task Force for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Tuesday night.

Last week, Duterte announced that all Davao-bound air passengers will be required to show negative RT PCR test results taken 24 hours to 72 hours before their date of departure.

The free testing service is offered to utilize the P6 Million Bayanihan Grant allocated for RT-PCR testing for a private Covid-19 facility at the Davao airport. 

“As approved during the meeting, the requirement of a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from departure date shall not be mandatory upon check-in at the airport of origin but shall be required upon exit at the Davao International Airport (DIA),” the mayor said.

All those who were tested at their places of origin within 24 to 72 hours of departure date but have not received their result shall not be allowed to exit the Davao airport until their test result is available, the city government said.

“We ensure that travellers who enter the city are negative, they just proceed with home quarantine. Dili na sad ta mag gukod sa contact tracing (so we would not go after people for contact tracing) since they do not have close contact,” Duterte said. 

In a letter dated July 21 addressed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Mayor Sara also laid a modified set of guidelines for passengers entering Davao Airport. 

Mayor Sara also sought the help of DOTr to request airlines to deplane all those with a negative RT-PCR test result first, followed by all those without their RT-PCR test result to ensure a safe and orderly exit out of the airport.

The city government will also accept a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from the domestic departure date conducted by a laboratory overseas for an international flight passenger, provided that all results written in a foreign language must have an English translation.

Children 12 years old and below are exempted from the RT-PCR requirement, provided that the accompanying adult passenger has a negative RT-PCR result.

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DILG tells LGUs: Endorse mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to Oplan Kalinga facilities

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila to endorse to Oplan Kalinga quarantine facilities mild and asymptomatic novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients that could no longer be accommodated in local isolation centers.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there now 4,000 beds available in Oplan Kalinga facilities due to the increase in discharges or recoveries in the previous weeks.

“We urge all Metro Manila LGUs to endorse patients which they can no longer accommodate in their local isolation facilities to endorse them to the Mega TTMFs and Oplan Kalinga Hotels which now has some 4,000 beds available because many have already been discharged,” he said.

Año said this is in compliance with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 74 which states that all confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are required to isolate in government-approved facilities, except those who are vulnerable or have comorbidities as certified by a local health officer.

Also exempted in this rule are confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in areas where the government-recognized isolation centers are in full capacity.

“Meron tayong mga Mega Quarantine Facilities and 31 COVID hotels na kung saan puwede sila mag-isolate. Importante kasi talaga na mailabas sila sa bahay kasi nakahahawa sa pamilya,” the DILG chief said.

According to DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, LGUs can coordinate directly with the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) located at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which was created to facilitate a comprehensive and coordinated response to the pandemic by ensuring an efficient health facility referral in Metro Manila.

Malaya said that with the establishment of the OHCC, LGUs and individuals can now easily locate hospitals or isolation facilities near them.

The DILG said the command center is open 24/7 and individuals needing treatment may call the OHCC hotlines at 0927-728-0750, 0927-728-0753, 0927-728-0755, and 0927-728-0798.

Individuals needing assistance from the OHCC may also download the PureForce Citizens App via Google Play Store or App Store, it added.

Facility-based isolation for asymptomatic, mild COVID-19 cases now mandatory

Marje Pelayo   •   September 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is now requiring facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases through IATF Resolution 74.

The new policy however, exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities and their home meets the conditions specified in the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Administrative Order 2020-0001. 

Likewise, another exception is when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.

Davao LGU to require air passengers to file online form, secure QR code starting Oct. 12

Robie de Guzman   •   September 25, 2020

The government of Davao City has announced it will soon require the submission of online form and QR code for passengers bound for Davao International Airport.

In an advisory, the city government said it is set to conduct a test run on Oct. 7 to Oct. 11 for the said policy, which is being eyed to be implemented starting Oct. 12.

The process seeks to improve the RT-PCR testing procedures for people arriving at the Davao International Airport by addressing issues pertaining to the convenience of passengers, the wellness and safety of the frontliners, and the speed with which confirmed COVID-19 positive passengers and those seated close to them on board are identified and located.

The city government said its IT department developed the online passenger data recording that needs to be completely filled out and submitted after the issuance of a boarding pass at the airport of origin.

This process will require passengers to use a smartphone, internet connection, and to prepare a valid ID, boarding pass, and their 24 hours to 72 hours negative RT-PCR test result, if they already have one.

The data captured is based on the same information that is required by the Department of Health during testing, the local government said.

“This move is envisioned to issue a unique QR code and create a no-contact, paperless recording of each arriving passenger and his test result,” it added.

During the test run, all passengers will be requested to use the online form to fast track testing and assignment of a holding facility.

A sample form published by the city government can be viewed here.

“We expect everyone’s full cooperation in our efforts to protect all Mindanawons from Covid-19,” it said.

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