P3,000 incentive speeds up contact tracing in San Juan

The San Juan City government’s P3,000 incentive program for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients checking into the city’s isolation facilities is a big factor in speeding up their contact tracing efforts.

"We released P3,000 financial assistance for positive patients who decide to transfer to any of our four facilities. This incentive is to make them transfer to quarantine facilities, so that we can extract them the community, so that they cannot infect," Mayor Francis Zamora said in an interview on ANC on Wednesday (Aug. 12).


Zamora said the move has sped up the local government's contact tracing efforts as coronavirus cases continue to swell in the metropolis.

 "The contact tracing has become very fast because they really cooperated in the tracing process. They’ve cooperated -- we have to backtrack who they were with, where they were, and those possibly infected by them. In fact, I believe San Juan has been doing a better job in terms of contact tracing," Zamora said.

 The mayor added that the P3,000 incentive eases the concern of family breadwinners who fear losing their jobs while isolated.

"A lot of them would worry about their families -- sasabihin nila 'wala kaming trabaho, wala kaming kahit ano' (they will say 'we don't have jobs, we don't have anything'), so these are factors which oftentimes discourage them, but given the fact that, we would help their family," Zamora said.

The mayor said the city recorded a total of 383 active cases as of Aug. 11, and will start the conduct of mass testing on residents for coronavirus disease.

 Zamora said the city government plans to oversee the testing of an average of 500 to 700 people a day, now that the pandemic task force has delegated the handling of "mega swabbing" facilities to the local governments. 

 "Our mega swabbing facility is in the Palacio de Maynila...With the start of mass testing, we will be averaging 500 to 700 testing a day,” Zamora said.

 He also said the city has four dedicated quarantine facilities to house coronavirus patients, and should the number of positive cases increase, the city will use schools within the vicinity of COVID-19 hospitals to house them.

 He added that since there is no face-to-face schooling yet, public schools in the city have agreed to house patients in case hospitals are unable to handle the volume.

 "San Juan will be ready. In fact, this is a balance between the economy and the health and safety of our people, and they will just have to follow the minimum health standards. It’s really all about discipline and understanding what it takes for people to not be infected," the mayor said.