By Genalyn Kabiling
The Department of Health (DOH) has committed to coordinate closely with local chief executives and harmonize public announcements about any coronavirus cases in their areas.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he would ask the DOH contact tracing teams to meet with the concerned local government officials about the “reporting protocols” to avoid public confusion about the coronavirus situation.
“Magandang pagkakataon ngayon repasuhin itong mga reporting protocols at i-harmonize at i-align para pare-pareho ng sinasabi at hindi nadodoble. Ang diumano, ang impression parang may ibang kaso, samantalang ang pinaguusapan ang parehong kaso,” he said in a press conference at the Palace Monday.
(It is a good opportunity to review the reporting protocols and harmonize and align our announcements to avoid duplication. The impression has supposedly been there are other cases even though we’re talking about the same cases.)
“Ang ating contact tracing teams ang aking aatasan na linawin sa local chief executives kung kailan sila dapat mag-anunsyo ng mga kaso para sa ganoon ang ugnayan malinaw at komunikasyon bukas,” he added.
(I will direct the contact tracing teams to clarify with the local chief executives when they should make the announcement about cases to keep coordination clear and communication open.)
The health department recently announced four new coronavirus cases that brought the country’s total to 10. A number of local government units later issued their respective announcements about coronavirus cases, triggering confusion on whether these are new or already part of the present government tally.
President Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak. The proclamation allows agencies to implement mandatory reporting, intensify government measures, and enforce quarantine and disease control prevention measures.
Meantime, the government will study if there will be any change in the government’s promotion of domestic tourism following the local COVID-19 transmission.
Duque said he would raise the matter before the government task force, which is expected to hold a meeting Monday afternoon, to determine the “messaging” for travelers. He noted that the government earlier promoted domestic tourism but asked hotels to ensure sufficient health precautions in their facilities.
The health department earlier advised the public, especially those with flu-like symptoms, to avoid crowded places.