Salceda fears second wave, cites poor contact tracing and testing

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Salceda fears second wave, cites poor contact tracing and testing

Albay Representative Joey Salceda says the country wasted the sacrifices of the people because it didn't do targeted testing and there's so few tracing

MANILA, Philippines – Albay Representative Joey Salceda said he is afraid a second wave of coronavirus infection could hit the Philippines when lockdown measures are lifted, citing poor contact tracing and testing around the country.

“Even if we lift, consumer confidence, labor confidence, and business confidence will not return. Lifting will only return the virus into a second wave,” Salceda said in a post on Facebook on Tuesday, April 28.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved recommendations to relax quarantine measures beginning Friday, May 1, in many provinces that recorded relatively low number of cases. Albay is among provinces that will lift its enhanced community quarantine measures to make way for a general community quarantine. 

Albay has 25 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, based on data from the Department of Health tracker. At least 6 have recovered but two died from the disease. 

Salceda is worried about the country’s low contact tracing and testing rates nationwide, however. He cited data showing contacts of coronavirus cases only totalled 5,000 out of 77,000 total test conducted. (READ: Many hospitals not qualified to test for coronavirus)

“So nag-aantay tayo na may magkasakit at pumunta sa ospital saka natin isubo sa testing capacity. Paano yung mga asymptomatic? (So we are waiting for people to get sick and go to the hospital before we test them? How about those who don’t have symptoms?),” said Salceda. 

Salceda also questioned inconsistent instructions from the government’s coronavirus task force on which institution – Department of Health, local government units, the Office of Civil Defense, and the Philippine National Police – takes the lead in conducting contact tracing. 

“We only have 17 days left [until quarantines are scheduled to be lifted on May 15]. Sinayang natin ang sakripisyo ng tao kasi hindi naman tayo nag-targetted testing and so few tracing (We wasted the sacrifices of the people because we didn’t do targeted testing and there’s so few tracing),” said Salceda.

A policy plan prepared by experts for containing the spread of coronavirus highlighted mass testing, protection of health workers, preventive measures post-lockdown, and better-prepared local governments. (READ: Former health chiefs, experts propose policy for dealing with COVID-19–

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