THE Department of Health (DoH) will send its experts to Cebu to discuss the province's testing and quarantine protocols and align these with the nationally mandated directives.
This development comes after the Office of the President ordered the provincial government of Cebu to follow the current guidelines regarding mandatory quarantine for 10 days and testing after seven days of arriving international passengers.
Earlier, Cebu Province Gov. Gwendolyn Fiel Garcia issued an executive order allowing returning overseas Filipinos who arrive at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport to be tested upon arrival.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said DoH experts will fly to Cebu to discuss clarifications about protocols imposed in the province.
"We will be going there. Ito ay isa nating pwedeng gawain para magkaroon ng kalinawan ito pong discrepancy sa protocols (This is one thing we can do in order to have clarity on the discrepancy in protocols). It can be managed from these discussions, " Vergeire said.
Vergeire reiterated that the 10-day, facility-based quarantine and seven-day quarantines are in line not only with the recommendations of Health experts but also with guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.
"Ang atin pong (our) testing with RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) becomes accurate when you go to the fifth to the seventh day of testing...also, the CDC has issued evidence that the residual risk of a person as you go longer into quarantine....bumababa nang bumababa (decreases in increments)," Vergeire said.
She expressed hope that the DoH and the Cebu provincial government would resolve the differences regarding protocols in one day.
Meanwhile, Vergeire said Health authorities were continuing to monitor the situation in Davao City after Octa Research said in its latest report, that the city has reported its highest daily caseload since the pandemic started.
On Thursday, the city posted 482 new Covid-19 cases, the first time it reported more than 300 cases in one day.
Octa said the current one-week growth rate of the city was at 26 percent and the current reproduction number of R-naught or 1.47.
"Patuloy po ang pagmo-monitor sa kanila...ang ating pong pagtugon sa pagtaas ng kaso, hindi lang po sa Davao. Nagbibigay po tayo ng (We continue to monitor these cases...we are responding to increases in cases not just in Davao. We are giving) additional manpower [and] budget. And we are helping them in their emergency hiring," Vergerie said.
She added that they were increasing bed capacity in other hospitals to preserve the capability of the Southern Philippines Medical Center, which not only caters to Davao residents, but to the entire Mindanao region.
"We are helping them and facilitating that the network of hospitals ay mapagana para mas ma-decongest natin ang mga maliliit na (will be activated in order that we can decongest the smaller) hospitals," Vergeire added.
Aside from Davao City, Octa has flagged the cities of Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Dumaguete, Butuan, Tacloban and Tuguegarao as well as the municIpality of Polomolok in South Cotabato.
San Pablo City, Cebu City and Baguio City also reported significant increases in the number of new Covid-19 cases.