Virus spread in Davao traced to cockfightMatin
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — A cockpit arena, where hundreds of cockfighting aficionados across the country had gathered last month, has emerged as the ground zero of the local transmission of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in this city.
On March 7, 10 and 12, Matina Gallera on MacArthur Highway hosted elimination rounds for a six-cock derby that offered a P26-million pot money.
The final rounds scheduled for March 14 were called off after President Rodrigo Duterte announced the impending lockdown of Metro Manila and the Department of the Interior and Local Government ordered the cancellation of all cockfighting events.
A resident of Misamis Occidental province, who was at the derby, told the Inquirer that there were participants from Metro Manila and other parts of Mindanao.
Discussions on social media groups also mentioned about people coming from Leyte province.
Mayor Sara Duterte said many of those who went to the derby had been infected, prompting the city to initiate contact tracing and advise those who attended the event to go on a 14-day isolation.
As of Wednesday, 11 derby goers were among the 47 COVID-19 cases in the city, according to a Department of Health (DOH) bulletin. Eight of them had died, including three who went to the derby.
Three more derby goers in Davao Region tested positive for infection. They are residents of Tagum City, Digos City and Matanao town, Davao del Sur.
A resident of Tubod, Lanao del Norte, who was also at the arena, contracted the virus. Tubod is 350 kilometers away from this city.
A resident of Cagayan de Oro City, who also went to the derby, is confined at Northern Mindanao Medical Center as a person under investigation (PUI), although he had tested negative for the disease.
A local transmission of the virus has been declared in Davao City, which means that patients contracted the disease within the city as they have no known travel history to areas with COVID-19 cases.
The declaration of a local transmission is a game changer because everyone in the city is now a potential carrier and restrictions to prevent the further spread of the disease must be scaled up, Duterte said.
The city now hosts the most number of cases outside of Metro Manila.
“We are now searching for those who are infected by those who got infected in the derby,” the mayor said.
Dr. Cleo Fe Tabada of the DOH’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit said that so far, they had traced less than half of the derby goers—only 225 from within the Davao region and 45 from other areas.
But as news of the COVID-19 infection among derby goers spread, those who had been there started coming out. Among them was Tagum City’s Liga ng mga Barangay president, Bryan Kim Angoy, who disclosed in a Facebook post that he tested positive for the virus.
—WITH REPORTS FROM FROILAN GALLARDO, LEAH AGONOY, EDWIN FERNANDEZ, ORLANDO DINOY AND ELDIE AGUIRRE
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