Local government units and the private sector will play a bigger role as the government is stepping up efforts to test, trace, and treat patients with the coronavirus disease, Malacañang said Thursday.
As the country’s cases continued to surge, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the national government would tap local government units and the private sector to play a “bigger role” in the containment strategy under the second phase of the national COVID action plan.
The public is also encouraged to continue to observe health protocols, such wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from others, to limit the spread of the disease, according to Roque.
Roque made the pronouncement ahead of President Duterte’s decision on the new quarantine status of the country next month. The country’s cases have soared to more than 85,000 last Wednesday, surpassing the projection made by the University of the Philippines researchers by the end of the month.
“It will not be business as usual. As Secretary Galvez said, in our next phase of national action plan, we will allow local government units to play a bigger role. We will also ask the private sector to play a bigger role and we ask the individual to observe minimum health standards,” Roque said during a televised press briefing.
“While the cases of COVID have increased, we are stepping up testing. As we ramp up testing, we are preparing more isolation facilities and aggressive contact tracing,” he said in Filipino.
He noted that the government plans to implement pooled testing in some pilot areas to screen more people with COVID using fewer supplies. Metro Manila, which has the most number of coronavirus infections, will be among the test areas of the group testing method.
In terms of treatment of coronavirus patients, Roque said the government started to acquire high flow nasal cannula devices and other medicines to provide relief to the infected and reduce the number of deaths.
So far, Roque cited that the country’s COVID reproduction number (R0) has dropped to 1.3 from 1.7. He said the ideal reproduction rate is one and below.
“So ibig sabihin po nito, kung anuman ang ginagawa ng gobyerno, bagama’t tumataas ang numero ay nag-improve naman po iyong R0 na ibig sabihin, mas kakaunti na ang nahahawa ng mga nagkakasakit (So it means, whatever the government is doing, although there is an increase in cases, our R0 has improved. There are fewer people getting sick,” he said.