WHO Says the Philippines Needs Better Contact Tracing Instead of Lockdowns
As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country, the World Health Organization (WHO) offered sound advice during an online forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).
Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, officer in charge and acting WHO representative in the Philippines, says instead of hard lockdowns, those in charge should focus on better contact tracing. He also noted that the current testing capacity be increased as it directly connects to contact tracing.
“To get speedy contact tracing and make quarantining and isolation possible, you need to be able to get testing results very early," he says. “The shorter the period is, the earlier the contact tracing and suppression measures can happen.”
From over 50,000 cases in previous weeks, the Philippines now has 72,769 recorded cases with 23,623 recoveries and 1,843 deaths as of July 21.
"What is worrying is the proportion of positive cases is very slowly increasing," Abeyasinghe says. “This is worrying. This shows that there is continuing transmission. This is also reflected by the increased number of admissions that are happening in hospitals.”
The government recently assigned state security forces, police officers, and local government unit representatives to conduct house-to-house searches in search of COVID-19 patients, which has alarmed the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).