LGUs ordered to provide contact tracers in tracking coronavirus cases

MANILA, Philippines – The national government ordered local government units (LGUs) to provide people who can help contact tracing of coronavirus cases. 

In a virtual briefing on Tuesday, March 31, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said: LGUS are directed to identify people who can help the national government conduct "intensive contact tracing, assessment, and monitoring of PUMs and PUIs (persons under monitoring and patients under investigation).”

Nograles, the spokesperson of the government’s coronavirus task force, listed this among the government’s latest guidelines for lockdown in Luzon put in place to address the coronavirus outbreak.  

Contact tracing, or the work of finding close contacts and persons who may have been exposed to confirmed coronavirus cases, is a critical tool in trying to control the spread of the coronavirus. Coupled with physical distancing, it can serve as an effective means to contain the spread of the virus. 

For instance, Singapore’s meticulous contact tracing efforts have been hailed by health experts as a crucial measure in keeping at bay the spread of coronavirus cases in the Southeast Asian country. 

In the Philippines, contact tracing actions are still underway, though health officials have had difficultly keeping up with the growing number of cases which expanded the need to locate more people. 

Aside from this, the Cabinet Secretary directed local health units to issue certificates of completion certifying to residents have completed 14-day quarantines.

LGUs should also disinfect their respective localities “as frequently as necessary,” in accordance with guidelines set by the health department. 

The Philippines has recorded 1,546 coronavirus cases, including 78 deaths and 42 recoveries as of Monday, March 30. – Rappler.com 

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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