DAVAO CITY – The entire Davao Region will remain on modified general community quarantine status (MGCQ) after August 15, Mayor Sara Z. Duterte said.

Speaking at the local government-run Davao Disaster Radio Friday (Aug. 14), Mayor Sara said Davao Region’s local officials were told Tuesday by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to further reduce the number of infections in their respective areas.

“We received the verbal guidance from Secretary Duque to ‘crush the clusters now.’ He ordered us to turn around the situation here in Davao Region and find ways to not just lower the numbers but to stop the transmissions,” Duterte said.

Tueday’s meeting with national IATF officials, she said, were also attended by Sec. Carlito Galvez, chief Implementer of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against Covid-19, and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

Among the advices the national IATF gave to local officials, she said, was  to beef up early detection, fast-track contact tracing, and establish more Covid-19 facilities.

Back-riding policy

On the motorcycle back-riding issue, Mayor Sara said the IATF granted the local government units (LGUs) a free hand to decide on the manner of implementation.

“It is up to the LGU to discern on how to implement a certain directive. As for Davao City, back riding is allowed for all and not limited to couples, provided they will wear face mask and use barrier of any design as long as it covers the body but should not exceed the head portion,” the mayor said.

Face shields

She said the use of face shields is now mandatory for workers who are considered front-liners or those who are assigned in the field or whose job is doing face-to-face transactions with the public.

The mayor said the use of face shield was no longer required for public transport passengers. Instead, transport operators are mandated to put up barriers to separate people inside public utility vehicles.

New normal

According to Mayor Sara, the “new normal” is projected to last up to two to three years, as assessed by the national IATF and health experts.

Local transmissions, she said, would continue if people continue to violate the basic health protocols against Covid-19. Hence, the challenge lies on every person in order not to get infected.

“Some people cannot understand that there is a need for us to be united in complying with the health protocols, and many still violate the basic health protocols. If this persists, we will really fail,” she said in the dialect.

She reminded residents that the only way to protect oneself from getting infected is to follow the minimum health standards, such as the wearing of mask, safe physical distancing, and handwashing. (PNA)