11 coronavirus deaths from Matina cockfight derby – DOH

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Eleven of the 12 deaths due to COVID-19 in Region 11 were linked to a cockfight derby held at Matina Gallera, Davao City, from March 6 to 13, according to the Department of Health (DOH). 

Dr Cleofe Tabada, medical officer of Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit 11, also confirmed that the sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the region was due to the cockfight. (READ: Cockfight aficionados in Davao City told to self-quarantine)

One of the fight aficionados already had the virus prior to the derby, and spread the infection when he attended the event.

Tabada said a total of 427 derby attendees had so far been identified, and that 139 of them are from Davao City. All 427 are under monitoring.

Tabada said that among the city residents, 82 had COVID-19 symptoms while 65 were confirmed positive with COVID-19.

“As to the secondary contact tracing, we have also identified more than a thousand already,” Tabada added.

The derby was held despite the decision of the Davao City government to suspend all activities – government and private-led – connected to Araw ng Davao, a celebration set during the said period.

This raised questions as to why the derby was allowed to continue.

However, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said that, based on the documents and the timeline covering the community quarantine, no law had been violated in the conduct of the derby.

“I asked the concerned office and let them explain their part, and we found out that there was no law violated since they have the complete papers,” she said.

But she immediately added that as early as March 3, the Division Chief of the Business Permit and Licensing Division (BPLD) should have stopped issuing permits for events such as the derby.

“It was a judgment call that was never made. This person already tendered resignation effective Saturday (April 4). This serves as a reminder for all officials in the city government to always put forward the general welfare of the residents of the city,” she said. – Rappler.com