The Davao Regional Task Force on COVID19 (RTF11-COVID19) organized its second meeting on April 15, 2020 – a month after the task force passed a resolution declaring Davao Region under general community quarantine and banning land, sea, and air travel into the Region. The virtual meeting was administered by Regional Development Council XI (RDC XI) Chairperson Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy of Davao de Oro and presided over by RTF11-COVID19 Chairperson Mayor Sara Z. Duterte of Davao City.

Pertinent issues amidst the implementation of ECQ in the Region were discussed such as strategies to further intensify contact tracing efforts and capacities for local testing/community surveillance for COVID-19 cases, the management and handling of cadavers, guidelines on the repatriation of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and entry of individuals who are stranded outside of Davao Region, heightening the operations of export and other essential industries in the Region, as well as, the action plan for the RTF11’s Task Group on Strategic Communications.

The meeting was highlighted by an assessment of the effects of the Regionwide Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the Region. As of April 14, Davao Region recorded 92 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,226 Persons Under Investigation (PUIs), with Davao City considered as the epicenter of infection. While the Department of Health (DOH) XI reported a declining trend in the number of COVID-19 cases based on the onset of illness during the implementation of ECQ, technical analysts also specified that this could still change in the coming days. The LGUs were cautioned not to lift quarantine restrictions “too early”, as it may lead to new waves of outbreaks. Relatedly, guidelines for a modified ECQ in some LGUs with zero suspect, probable, or confirmed cases are being considered by the Task Force after careful analyses of the clustering of cases in the Region.

The Task Force resolved that the lifting of the ECQ shall be done as one Region, not per Province or LGU, and will be based on the parameters and guidelines as recommended by the DOH and proper authorities. To date, the Task Force has declared the extension of ECQ over Davao Region until April 26, 2020. The members of the Task Force agreed that untimely lifting of quarantine and social distancing guidelines may cause a wave of transmission that nullifies the Region’s effort for the past weeks. The RTF11-COVID19 urged the sound implementation of the COVID-19 countermeasures in all of Davao Region. Davaoeños are enjoined to cooperate in the intensive contact tracing, community surveillance efforts, and ECQ guidelines set by the government.