Go appeals for 15,000 more contact tracers

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go has requested President Duterte and concerned government agencies to hire 15,000 contact tracers from Aug. 2 to Dec. 31, stressing their critical role in the government’s pandemic response operations.

“Being a contact tracer is a good way to help one’s countrymen. At the same time, the government can give jobs to Filipinos who lost their livelihood,” he said.

Go, who chairs the Senate health committee, said contact tracers should be given proper training and compensation.

A major pillar of the government’s response, according to Go, is the detection of suspect, probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“Contact tracing enables the quarantine and treatment of those who may have been infected with the virus, interrupting the infection’s chain of transmission,” he said.

Contact tracers are the initial point of contact for COVID-19 cases. They conduct case interviews and risk assessments, monitor close and general contacts daily for at least 14 days and keep accurate records of those contacts.

The anticipated cost of hiring 15,000 contact tracers through Dec. 31 amounts to almost P1.7 billion, Go said, noting that hiring them would meet the Department of Health’s 1:10 contact tracer-to-individual ratio.

To combat the spread of the Delta variant, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases put the National Capital Region on heightened general community quarantine until today and under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting tomorrow until Aug. 20.

Aside from the reinstatement of ECQ and border controls, Go previously called for the expansion of health care facilities, faster vaccination deployment and increased contact tracing and genome sequencing.

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