Davao City limits movement of residents, visitors amid COVID-19 fears

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The government of Davao City has implemented travel restrictions for its residents and visitors in an effort to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the area.

In the guidelines issued Thursday, the Office of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said travel to and from Davao City will be limited, and all residents are barred from going outside the city.

Short-term visitors are also advised to leave the city immediately, while travelers planning to visit the city may still do so but are “requested to postpone their trip until the state of public health emergency is lifted.”

The guidelines, however, emphasized that the city is not on lockdown.

In a local radio interview, Duterte-Carpio urged non-Davao residents to think about observing preventive measures rather than pursuing trips to the city at this time.

“If you are not a resident of Davao and you get the disease here, you can spread it in your hometown once you go back. It would be better if we take preventive measures,” she said.

The presidential daughter appealed for public understanding over the drastic action, explaining that the city has limited health facilities and that they “cannot afford a wide spread infection of COVID-19” there.

“Many people will die if we will not take action,” she said. “To wait for one positive patient before taking action is too late for everyone.”

She added that since health is a primary public concern, it is within her mandate to remind the public of what should be done.

“It is my obligation to do so,” she said.

Davao City is the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte-Carpio earlier said she is under home quarantine as a precaution after a lunch meeting with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian who was in contact with virus-infected guest at the Senate.

Gatchalian and several of his colleagues are also under self-quarantine.

The Philippines has so far recorded 52 confirmed infections, with five fatalities.

Due to the growing number of coronavirus cases, the country has been placed under a state of public health emergency by the president.

He also placed Metro Manila under a month-long community quarantine beginning March 15 to April 14 as most of the cases were reported in the region.

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