UP scientist recommends social distancing for people with symptoms, regardless of COVID-19 test result

Published March 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Rizal Obanil

An official from the University of the Philippines (UP) Philippine Genome Center strongly recommends the practice of self-quarantine and social distancing regardless of the result of a COVID-19 test.


University of the Philippines (UP) Genome Center Deputy Director Dr. Raul Destura, in an interview over ANC, said: “If you are tested and you are classified as person under investigation, then all the more you should practice isolation and distancing.  Even if the results are not in yet.

“Because in terms of clinical management, if you are developing the symptoms related to coronavirus, the management will not change even before the release of the results.  If the suspicion is there, you will be managed already as coronavirus infection until proven negative.”

He added that even if the result is positive, the management of the patient will be the same, because no medicine has yet been found that is totally effective against the virus.

“If the result comes out positive, it’s just a continuation of what’s being done to the patient in terms of support and care,” he said. “The reason for that is there are no drugs yet that are really proven effective in curtailing, but there are several drugs that are being tested because small experience of those drugs to be working.”

Destura explained that if someone has symptoms, they have to quarantine or isolate themselves even before receiving their test result.

“So even if you don’t  have the results of the test (but) you already have the symptoms, its best to separate yourself from the rest of the group,” he said.  “That way the transmission dynamics gets cut until you are actually proven to be negative, [that] it’s just a regular common cold or other type of respiratory infection.”

When asked about the option of mass-testing for COVID-19, Restura said the government should contemplate on whether this is the best option resource-wise considering the low percentage of getting  a result.

He said that currently the positivity rate is below 2 percent.

Restura said the government should determine whether it is willing to do mass testing or just concentrate its efforts on testing those who have already shown symptoms.