COVID-19 contact tracing stepped up; public urged to follow protocols

Published July 22, 2021, 3:12 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that it will step up its contact tracing game to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following reports of an increase in the number of cases in different areas in the country, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the OCTA Research Group found that the COVID-19 reproduction rate in Metro Manila increased to 1.08.

In his press briefing, Roque said that the findings only proved that there should be stricter implementation of health protocols and the PDITR or prevent, detect, isolate, test, reintegrate strategy.

The Palace official, in particular, said the government must step up its contact tracing efforts. He said he was going to personally bring this up in their meeting with members of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“Ako mismo ang maglalabas ng issue paano po palalakasin ang contact tracing talaga (I will personally raise the issue on how we can improve our contact tracing efforts),” he said.

“‘Yan po talaga ang susi para maiwasan ang pagkalat (That is really the key to preventing the spread of the disease),” he added.

On Wednesday, despite the report of the local transmission of the Delta variant, Roque said the IATF will continue to rely on data if it were to tighten restrictions because controlling the spread of COVID-19 was as important as looking out for the welfare of the people.

“Babantayan pa rin natin ang (We will still monitor the) [average] daily attack rate, two-week attack rate, at ang (and the) healthcare utilization rate. Ang ating sinusulong po ay ang total health (What we are promoting now is the total health),” he said.

“Importante po na makontrol natin, mapabagal natin ang pagkalat ng COVID-19 pero importante ring mabawasan natin ang hanay ng mga nagugutom dahil po sa lockdowns (It’s important that we control and slow down the spread of COVID-19 but it’s also important that we decrease the number of people going hungry because of the lockdowns),” he added.

Meanwhile, Roque said part of the IATF meeting was the suggestion of Metro Manila mayors to suspend the policy allowing children aged five and up to go to select outdoor places.

Early this month, the IATF allowed kids at least the age of five to leave their homes and go to specific outdoor sites in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and GCQ.

In a radio interview, Roque said the IATF decided to allow children outside because being stuck inside their homes for more than a year would not be good for their physical and mental wellbeing.