Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in the country, the supervision of the government’s contact-tracing efforts have been transferred to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Friday issued Resolution 25, amending Resolution 22 that initially tasked the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to lead the contact-tracing of the government.
“The Department of the Interior and Local Government, in coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs), shall hereafter lead the contact-tracing efforts of the government,” Nograles, also IATF spokesperson, said in a virtual press briefing aired on state-run PTV-4.
Nograles said the DILG and the Department of Health (DOH) are likewise directed to enter into a data-sharing agreement, in accordance with Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act.
The IATF earlier adopted the policy of mandatory public disclosure of personal information of confirmed Covid-19 patients to boost the government’s contact-tracing efforts.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and LGUs have been directed to organize teams that will trace people who had contact with Covid-19 patients.
Año said local police chiefs would lead contact-tracing teams (CCT) and would be assisted by health officers, personnel of disaster risk and management councils, and village officials.
He said CCTs would identify and monitor suspected persons with known exposure and contact to confirmed Covid-19 cases in a bid to stop the further transmission of the contagion.
As of Friday, the Philippines has 5,878 confirmed Covid-19 infections, with 387 deaths and 487 recoveries.
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., who also is the chief implementer of the national policy against Covid-19, said the Philippines will be able to conduct 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day once the Philippine National Red Cross opens its testing center.
“Sa pamamagitan ng testing center na ito, kaya na nating magsagawa ng 8,000 hanggang 10,000 na tests kada araw (With the help of this testing center, we will not be able to conduct 8,000 to 10,000 tests per day),” Galvez said in a day-end virtual presser on Friday.
Nograles backed Galvez’s statement, saying that conducting 8,000 to 10,000 tests for Covid-19 was attainable, considering that the DOH already accredited 17 testing laboratories nationwide.
The Philippines initially classified Covid-19 cases as either patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs).
The country now uses the terms “suspect,” “probable,” and “confirmed” for Covid-19 cases.
While PUMs are no longer included in the modified classification for Covid-19 cases, they will still be tested for the new pathogen, Nograles said.
“Lahat ng PUIs, PUMs, lalung-lalo na sa Metro Manila ay gusto na nating ma-test (We want PUIs, PUMs, especially those from Metro Manila, to undergo Covid-19 tests),” Nograles said. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos/PNA)