We Now Have 69,000 Contact Tracers for COVID-19
On July 19, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced it has deployed 69,098 contact tracers nationwide as part of the efforts to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country.
According to the DILG, the figure translates to a contact tracing capacity of 98.2 percent. The contact tracers are divided into 5,215 teams that will cover an end-to-end tracing strategy that starts from tracing, testing, and then treatment.
“Our local contact tracing teams nationwide are working double-time to interrupt the transmission and reduce the spread of infection. This way, we can cover all the bases in the end-to-end trace-test-treat (T3) management system against this virus,” said interior secretary Eduardo Año in an interview with GMA 7.
50,000 More Contact Tracers Expected
Año said the DILG is waiting for the Department of Budget and Management to approve its proposed hiring of an additional 50,000 contact tracers to reinforce the existing 69,000 already deployed in local governments around the country.
This is part of the government’s plan to significantly intensify its contact tracing efforts, which was tagged by scientists from the University of the Philippines as the most lacking in the government’s fight against the spread of the virus. The state university has projected COVID-19 cases could go as high as 95,000 by the end of August.
Back in May, U.P. researchers Guido David, Ranjit Singh Rye, and Ma. Patricia Agbulos emphasized the need for a robust contact tracing system in the Philippines.
“We continue to reiterate the need for an efficient and effective contract tracing system to track those who could have been exposed to the infective individual,” they said.
As of July 19, the Philippines has recorded a total of 67,456 cases of COVID-19, of which 43,163 are active cases. There have been 22,465 recoveries and 1,831 deaths.