DILG says PH contact tracing capability at 96 percent, Metro Manila at 76 percent

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2020 04:09 PM

Health workers administer swab testing for the coronavirus disease to frontliners and residents at the San Juan Elementary School Gym in San Juan City, May 12, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The Philippines' contact tracing capability for the COVID-19 pandemic has reached 96 percent, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Monday as lockdowns were largely eased in the country.

Metro Manila, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, meanwhile has a 76-percent contact tracing ability, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.

"Sa tracing po natin, ang overall natin ay maganda na. Umabot na tayo sa 96 percent yung tinatawag na contact tracing ability pero dito po sa Metro Manila, nasa 76 percent pa rin po tayo," he said during a Palace press briefing.

(We have reached the 96-percent capacity when it comes to contact tracing but here in Metro Manila, we are only at a 76-percent capacity.)

Contact tracing is usually initiated after COVID-19 test results are confirmed and sent to local epidemiology offices, a process that takes 13 days from the time the patient goes to a hospital.

The World Health Organization earlier said the Philippines needs to have 1 contact tracer for every 800 people.

The capital region transitioned on Monday to a general community quarantine from a modified enhanced community quarantine as the government sought to revive the economy that saw a contraction for the first time in 22 years.

Other areas that transitioned to GCQ are Pangasinan province, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Davao City, and Zamboanga City.

The rest of the country meanwhile, shifted to a modified GCQ, the transition point to the "new normal" where community quarantine protocols would be fully lifted.

Since there are restrictions to contact tracing efforts due to the Data Privacy Act, Año said community quarantine measures still need to be observed.

"Malaking improvement ang ating contact tracing. Because of contact tracing, nag-improve 'yung ating sitwasyon pero ganoon pa man, kailangan pa rin natin ang kondisyon ng quarantine para naman po sigurado na hindi makalipat ang virus sa ibang tao," Año said.

(Because of contact tracing our situation has improved but we still need quarantine protocols to ensure that the virus doesn't infect others.)

As of Sunday, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines have reached 18,086. This includes 957 deaths and 3,909 recoveries.