The Provincial Task Force-Covid-19, in a press release on Tuesday, January 11, made the clarification after Governor Nelson Dayanghirang was quoted in a radio interview saying he intends “to place Davao Oriental under temporary lockdown” to prevent the possible transmission of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.
“The Provincial Task Force-Covid-19 maintains that the province will follow the guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases guidelines (IATF). However, the Task Force said it will submit recommendations to the IATF to serve as its guide in implementing local policies,” the Provincial Government said.
Dayanghirang said he wants to suspend the entry of people from other regions in the province, particularly from Metro Manila, which is currently placed under Alert Level 3 due to the rising number of cases in the past few days.
He said, however, that this will not be possible as the province is following the IATF guidelines.
“Dili man ta ka-lockdown diri sa probinsya sa Davao Oriental tungod sa status sa (We cannot place Davao Oriental under lockdown due to our status based on the) regionwide Alert Level System,” the governor said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
Dayanghirang said he is hoping that local government units (LGUs) would be given the authority to place their respective locality under a lockdown as a way to address the possible transmission.
“Ang pinakanindot unta diha dili na nato basehan ang Alert [Level] nato. Tagaan unta’g authority ang local government unit to come out an order nga mag-lockdown og iyahang kaugalingon para maundang sa ning transmission. Undangon sa nato kadali ang lihok sa tao kay naa may threat sa Omicron (It would have been better if we wouldn’t base our Covid-19 measures on Alert Level status. They should give LGUs an authority to come out with an order to place their respective locality under lockdown to prevent the transmission of the virus. We should prevent the movement of the people due to the threat of the Omicron variant),” he said.
He added that if he could place a respective locality under lockdown it would be good for 15 days to curb the possible spread of the virus.
As of January 11, the province remains under Alert Level 2, which means intrazonal and interzonal travels are allowed subject to reasonable restrictions. Most gatherings are also allowed but must adhere to allowable capacity, among other guidelines.
The Provincial Government said the task force and its counterparts continuously implement measures and beef up monitoring and surveillance to prevent the spread of the deadly disease despite lesser restrictions under Alert Level 2.
The province said it also intensified its vaccination efforts. As of January 6, 2022, a total of 308,827 individuals in the province have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or 73.1 percent of the target herd immunity.
This makes Davao Oriental the province with the third-highest vaccination coverage in the entire Davao Region, the local government said.
To further protect its constituents, the Provincial Task Force is set to hold an inter-agency consultative meeting next week, purposely to enhance the province’s readiness for the Omicron variant.
According to the Department of Health-Davao data as of January 10, Davao Oriental has 23 active Covid-19 cases, two of which are new cases. The province remains to have no cases of the Omicron variant.