Davao, Samal Island shut workplaces, resorts | Inquirer News
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Davao, Samal Island shut workplaces, resorts

PEARL PEDDLERS Two boys paddle their boat toward a tour ferry heading for Samal Island to offer locally harvested pearls to tourists. Starting on Monday, however, all 130 resorts on the island will close indefinitely due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the city. —KARLOS MANLUPIG

DAVAO CITY — The city government here as well as that of the nearby Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte have instituted lockdowns and other stringent measures as daily cases of COVID-19 continued to climb in the region.

On Friday, the city government announced that it was placing the entire building of the city council here on a weeklong lockdown after a number of its employees contracted the virus. Affected in the lockdown, which would start on Monday, were the offices of the city treasurer, the city assessor, the business bureau, the city civil registrar, the vice mayor and the offices of city councilors.

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For the duration of the lockdown, the city urged the transacting public to put their documents in drop boxes set up in front of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Building. Those paying their taxes or had a transaction with the offices on lockdown were urged to proceed to the district offices to pay.

The SP Building lockdown was announced on the day the city also ordered the Davao branch of the business process outsourcing firm Teleperformance to be closed for 14 days after 46 of the firm’s call center agents contracted the disease, Michelle Schlosser, focal person of the Davao City Task Force on COVID-19, told reporters here.

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Schlosser said the local task force noted an increasing number of cases in the call center.

Earlier, Mayor Sara Duterte issued Executive Order No. 31 banning all in-person nonessential events and nonemergency essential gatherings in the city as the number of COVID-19 cases here began to rise. The mayor’s order said these activities, including training and seminars, should only be done online. In her radio interview, Duterte blamed these events for contributing to the increase in the number of infections here.

Bookings canceled

In the nearby Island Garden City of Samal, Mayor Al David Uy suspended the operations of all resorts for two weeks starting on June 1 to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city and surrounding areas.

Uy noted reports that attributed the rising cases on the island to transmissions in workplaces, public markets and other events.

“To prevent [these cases] from turning into full-blown community transmission, it is imperative for the city government to institute preventive measures,” Uy said.

A total of 130 resorts in the city will be affected by Uy’s order, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the region.

Samal Island can be reached via a 40-minute ferry ride from Davao City, where most foreign and domestic tourists bound for the island enter through Francisco Bangoy International Airport.

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All confirmed bookings and approved tourist quick response codes to the island city have been canceled and all prebookings stopped.

The DOT regional office, however, said it respected the decision of the local government.

“The temporary suspension of all resort operations is a precautionary measure established by the local government to control possible surge of COVID-19 cases,” the DOT said in a statement.

On Saturday, the Department of Health monitored 296 new COVID-19 cases in the Davao Region, bringing the total number of active cases to 2,796.

Of the new cases, 198, or 66.89 percent, came from Davao City.

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TAGS: coronavirus lockdown, Davao City, Davao Del Norte, Samal Island
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