Mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients should go to facilities â IATF
This is a general view of a hall converted into a 500-bed capacity COVID-19 coronavirus quarantine facility at the World Trade Center in Manila on April 23, 2020, one of the facilities to house mild cases of the disease. The facility will be managed by military medical personnel.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

Mild, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients should go to facilities — IATF

Alexis Romero ( - July 12, 2020 - 5:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government is now discouraging home quarantine for persons with COVID-19 and those who are infected but with no symptoms, saying it will increase the risk of spreading the virus.

Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) co-chair Karlo Nograles said the country still has enough facilities to accommodate infected persons.

"We are now discouraging what we call home quarantine. It should be facility quarantine. We noticed that many who caught the COVID undergo home quarantine. But what is dangerous with home quarantine is there's a big chance that they will contaminate their families or those who live with them," Nograles told radio station dzBB on Sunday.

The Philippines recorded its first COVID-19 case in January and widespread lockdowns were announced in March.

"Even the asymptomatic ones should undergo facility quarantine. We still have many COVID facilities that can accommodate mild cases. That will be our focus now, not so much home quarantine," Nograles added.

The Philippines now has more than 54,000 COVID-19 cases, about 99% of them mild or asymptomatic cases. Despite the rising number of infections, officials have claimed that the country is achieving gains in its fight against the pandemic, citing the longer case doubling time and the low utilization rate of critical health care facilities.

Nograles said the IATF is continuously working with local governments to strengthen contact tracing, which aims to identify the people who had close contact with persons who tested positive for the disease so they can be isolated.

He noted that local governments have adopted a contact tracing structure that requires close coordination with barangay leaders.

"We know that at the barangay level, they have leaders and volunteers...they have barangay health workers who can help in the contact tracing efforts," Nograles.

"Nevertheless, the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) is also focused on seeking additional budget from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) to hire contact tracers," he added.

The health department previously said persons who are asymptomatic and those who are considered mild cases may be admitted to a quarantine facility or undergo home quarantine provided they have their own room and bathroom.

Those who choose to isolate themselves at home should avoid contact with their families.

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