IATF urged to meet with medical experts to discuss ways to slow down COVID-19 infection

Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) to convene an emergency meeting together with medical health experts to try to slow down the infection rates on COVID-19.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Hontiveros made the call as the COVID-19 cases in the Philippines soared to 153,660 with 6,216 new infections recorded. 

“We need the IATF to convene an emergency meeting and check with public health experts, epidemiologists, and frontliners on their recommendations to immediately slow down the transmission of the virus,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Hontiveros said the government should come up with a comprehensive plan to curb the cases without having to resort to imposing strict lockdowns in order to enable the country’s economy going despite the pandemic.

“Hindi pwedeng lockdown lang. Sa mga areas sa bansa na tinitingnan nating hotspot, sikapin nating magkaroon ng libreng pooled testing, lalo na sa mga at-risk at mahihirap na komunidad (we can’t just rely on a lockdown. Let’s try to hold a free pooled testing in areas in the country that are considered hotspots, especially in at-risk and poor communities),” Hontiveros said. 

The senator also renewed her call for the Department of Health (DOH) and the local government units (LGUs) to support the deployment of more contact tracing teams. 

It is also imperative for state health officials to fully implement basic protection and support to frontliners, hospital-based and community-based care. 

“The government needs to accept recommendations from public health experts, doctors and nurses, frontliners, and epidemiologists. Let them steer our COVID-19 response,” she stressed. 

“Hindi pwedeng balat-sibuyas ang gobyerno sa mga suhestyon ng mga eksperto (the government shouldn’t be onion-skinned when listening to the suggestion given by experts),” the lawmaker pointed out. 

According to the DOH,  Metro Manila still has the most number of new infections with 3,848, followed by Laguna having 302  new cases.  Rizal has 242 infections while Cavite and Bulacan has 240 and 178 new cases, respectively.

DOH said there were 1,038 additional recoveries, bringing the total number of patients who recovered to 71,405. However, the death toll rose to 2,442 with 16 new fatalities logged in.