Davao City enforces strict QR code scanning as COVID-19 cases rise again
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — The city government urged the public on Sunday to consistently use the Safe Davao QR Code on entering and leaving business establishments to ease contact tracing as the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases here showed a sharp rise in the past week.
As of Saturday, Aug. 28, the Department of Health (DOH) has monitored 403 new COVID-19 cases in Davao City, which was more than triple the 114 cases posted on Aug. 23.
Of the nine COVID-19 deaths in the Davao Region on Saturday alone, six were in Davao City, two in Davao Oriental, and one in Davao del Sur.
In an advisory, Davao City Hall said the consistent use of the QR code would reduce the dependence of contact tracers on the testimony of those who tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Michelle Schlosser, the spokesperson of the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, earlier warned business firms that their operations could be suspended for 30 days or have their permits revoked, or both, if they violate the implementation of the QR code requirement on their second and third offense.
The requirement is contained in an ordinance passed by the Davao City Council last June 29 to expand a similar ordinance passed on Dec. 7, 2020.
“We are tasked to enforce this ordinance. So I hope that everyone will follow,” Schlosser said.
She said the city’s expanded contract tracing had integrated into it the Davao QR Code so that individuals who happened to be in the same room as a patient tested positive for COVID-19 could easily be traced.
“[The] DQR has been integrated into our expanded contact tracing,” Schlosser said, adding that some COVID-19 patients were still able to enter some establishments, prompting the need to track them.
“The Davao ordinance will penalize establishments who fail to scan [the QR codes of] individuals entering their premises,” Schlosser said.
Under the ordinance, violators will receive a written warning for the first offense; a fine of P5,000 and/or the suspension of their business operations for 30 days for the second offense; and a fine of P5,000 and cancelation of their business permits for the third offense.
Davao City’s 403 new cases on Saturday brought to 4,719 its total number of active cases, which make up 43% of the 10,967 active cases in the entire Davao Region.
Trailing behind Davao City in the number of active cases in the region are Davao del Sur with 2,653 active cases, Davao del Norte with 1,393, Davao Oriental with 879, Davao Occidental with 879, and Davao de Oro with 578.
Unlike in the previous surge in June this year when the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) ran out of rooms, there were still a few rooms left at the region’s primary COVID-19 facility.
Only 404 of the hospital’s 417 COVID-19 beds and six of its 10 ICU beds remained occupied. All of its 31 isolation beds, however, were full.
In Lanao del Sur, Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. approved the release of 1,500 vials of Remdesivir to Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC), where severe and critical COVID 19 cases were being treated, according to Dr. Alinader Minalang, Lanao del Sur provincial health officer.
The assistance came three days after Dr. Shalimar Rakiin, APMC chief, announced on social media that the hospital was already overwhelmed with patients coming from nearby places, including Iligan City, where the privately-run Adventist Medical Center (AMC) already stopped receiving COVID-19 patients about a week ago after it ran out of beds and other facilities.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra also handed over a P1 million check to the APMC on Aug. 26 to augment the medical center’s operations and services.
Of the 156 COVID-19 patients currently admitted in the hospital, 48 came from Lanao del Sur, 41 from Iligan City, 33 from Marawi City, 23 from Lanao del Norte, five from Cagayan de Oro City, four from Misamis Occidental, one from Bukidnon, and one from Koronadal City, according to Rakiin.
Rakiin blamed social gatherings for the surge of COVID 19 infections in the area.
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