MANILA -- A lawmaker on Friday urged the Department of Health to tap into social media to trace patients with the novel coronavirus and the people that had close contact with them.
Some 75 million Filipinos are on Facebook and the Philippines is "one of the most active nations in terms of social media," said Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor.
“We should utilize social media in terms of reporting and contact tracing, where we have miserably failed. I have friends who tested positive for the infectious virus and none of them has been asked who they had interacted with,” said Defensor, who chairs the House health committee.
“With social media, we can determine where infected persons were in the past 14 days and who they were in close contact with,” he said in a statement.
The DOH earlier rejected Defensor's call to publish the names of COVID-19 patients, saying this would violate a data privacy law.
Public fear of stigma and a shortage of contact-tracers hamper efforts to find potential virus patients, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario earlier said.
During the 2-week return of Metro Manila and 4 surrounding provinces to stricter lockdown, health officers will go on a house-to-house search for people with COVID-19 symptoms in certain "priority barangays," she said.