It is alarming and it should concern our health authorities.
Aside from the existing health protocols which Filipinos have already grown accustomed to, contact tracing is key: first, to determine the specific areas where the surges occur or are evident, so that extra control measures and closer supervision can be instituted immediately.
This is where the role of the local government units (LGUs) becomes indispensable since they are the closest to the potential spreaders – not to mention their familiarity with the people in their localities.
In an interview on DZRH, Sen. Lacson answered questions on: * criticisms vs Anti-Terrorism Bill, including high-profile personalities [24:23]
* how National ID system can speed up contact tracing [21:45]
The app allows users to log interactions with other people; and do self-assessment if they experience symptoms. In just a few days of implementation, the local government has already signed up 42,000 out of the municipality’s 97,557 residents. For those without smartphones, the local government’s barangay and police personnel can input the information for them.
Meanwhile, in Baguio City, the local government under Mayor Benjamin Magalong is doing contact tracing using the EndCovid-19 system, which relies on the geographical information system (GIS) platform to plot the areas where possible COVID-19 carriers live – similar to that which he introduced when he was Cordillera regional police chief.
Combined with cognitive interviews and analytical tools, the system has made Baguio City a model for contact tracing.
With these technologies, we can potentially save P11.7 billion being asked by the Department of Health for contact tracers. I share Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s sentiment that there are more practical uses for the amount. These may include livelihood programs for those affected by the COVID-triggered lockdowns, among others.
Our national agencies, including the Department of Health, need not look far for contact tracing solutions that are effective, yet are not intrusive. Instead, they must take a cue from our LGUs. Especially given our limited resources, they can do no less.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, one of the few sensible souls in the Cabinet, has proposed to prioritize the hiring of contact tracers en masse to boost efforts to stop transmission and provide jobs to stimulate the economy through spending.
Contact tracing is a key first step in addressing the COVID-19 threat. It should provide the baseline data or reference on who to test. Without it, our mass testing will be like shooting at the moon or running around like headless chickens.
Kung maipapatupad ang mungkahing ito nang maayos, maaari nating lutasin agad ang dalawang problema.
Ang bagay na ito ay nasa kamay na ng liderato ng Department of Health: Maiimplementa kaya nila ang mungkahi ni Secretary Dominguez?
In an interview on DZRH, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* post-ECQ scenarios [1:01]
* continued lack of testing, contact tracing [2:46]
* Senate teleconferencing due to COVID-19 [12:59]
* Pagcor allowing reopening of POGO [21:48]
* mensahe sa mga pasaway [28:21]
In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* extension of ECQ/lockdown [0:19]
* need for discipline during ECQ [4:07]
* barangay officials’ problems [10:02]
* sayang ang National ID system [14:04]
* May 4 session resumption; options on legislative calendar [18:09]
* test period for DOH Sec Duque [22:40]
For one, through the private sector’s initiative in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and other government agencies, massive rapid testing will start tomorrow, April 14, if it is not being done already.
Secondly, contact tracing, hopefully, will now be more efficient with the latest guideline issued by IATF for mandatory disclosure of COVID-19 infected persons for more efficient self-quarantine.
Thirdly, after a long and unnecessary delay, the FDA approved the use of test kits – including at least 10 rapid antibody test kits and 23 PCR-based test kits as of April 8. The delay was amid the willingness of private donors to spend big money to help accelerate mass testing through the use of rapid antibody test kits, and even after we asked the FDA about the usefulness of such rapid test kits as early as our March 24 caucus prior to our 18-hour plenary debates to pass Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal As One Act) on the same day, with some Cabinet members in attendance.
What I can’t understand for the life of me is why the DOH keeps issuing circulars that seem to circumvent Sec 4(j) of the Bayanihan Act that provides for some leeway for donated test kits that otherwise have already been in use in other jurisdictions, by mandating the turnover of all donations to DOH but would not allow its use. This is compounded by a requirement for accreditation that includes, among others, an application by the manufacturer or distributor of such health products. Since these are donations and therefore not for business purposes, how in the world will these donors look for local distributors, or look for the manufacturer to file for an application? Sec 4(j) specifically states that all donated health products need only a certification from the regulatory agency/ies of the country that allows the use of such health products for FDA to approve the same.
On the other hand, there is no saying that Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. is not doing a good job as chief implementer of the government’s national response against COVID-19, by playing catch-up for the inadequacies of some people.