Philippine govt to disallow home quarantine

Citizens undergo coronavirus testing in a quarantined community in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on May 11, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MANILA, Sep 10, 2020, The Manila Times. The government will strictly enforce the “no home quarantine” policy for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients once it is approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), The Manila Times reported.

Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the national policy against Covid-19, is confident that disallowing home quarantine will reduce new coronavirus cases to single-digit levels.

“Magkaroon po ng IATF Resolution na talaga pong i-discourage po natin or i-disallow na po natin iyong home quarantine kasi nakita po natin sa Region 3, sa Region 4A, sa Manila and nakita natin iyong experience natin sa Navotas at saka sa Pateros, noong tinanggal po natin iyong home quarantine doon sa area na iyon (There will be an IATF resolution that will discourage home quarantining because we saw that in Region 3, Region 4A, Manila, Navotas and Pateros, when we disallowed it, there was a significant drop in the number of new cases),” Galvez said during a virtual press briefing.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had announced that the government planned to implement the new policy “within the week.”

Año said the joint memorandum of the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government that allowed home quarantine for mild and asymptomatic patients and those without underlying conditions who have their own rooms and bathrooms would be replaced with the new policy.

Galvez has been opposed to home quarantine, saying it is one of the leading causes of community transmission of Covid-19 in the country.

“The longer a Covid-19 patient stays in his/her home, the greater the chances that he or she will infect others,” he said.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines said on Sunday the Philippines had “flattened” the coronavirus curve.

In a televised speech on Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte interpreted “flattening the curve” as having fewer people with Covid-19 and credited the public for it.

The President, however, noted there were still stubborn people who behaved as if there was no pandemic and paid for their bravado with a “high rate of contamination.”

The Philippines has recorded 241,987 Covid-19 infections, with 3,916 deaths and 185,178 recoveries.

Also on Wednesday, the DoH announced it is requiring Covid-19 laboratories to complete their information such as phone numbers and addresses to better allow local government units to trace positive cases.

The Health department is closely monitoring the laboratories, particularly those who do not submit their Covid-19 test results on time.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said laboratories must ensure that patient information, such as addresses and telephone numbers, should be encoded in the case investigation forms before these are uploaded in the CovidKAYA system and the Covid-19 Data Repository System.

Beginning September 1, the DoH had started listing laboratories who do not submit their reports by 6 p.m. of the previous day on its case bulletins.

Vergeire said there could be an “abnormally high” number of cases that would be reported in the coming days which would be considered as “late reports” in the next case bulletins.

She emphasized that the reporting of information is vital in contact tracing.

Vergeire said people should remain cautiously optimistic on the reports that the country has “flattened the curve.”

“We should not remain complacent. That is why we are cautious in issuing statements on improvements,” she said.

She admitted that there are indications that the situation was improving.

“We were able to decongest our hospitals, we were able to transfer patients to temporary treatment and monitoring facilities and we were able to go into the ground and do granular initiatives and interventions such as the Coordinated Operations to Defeat the Epidemic [or CODE],” she said.

On Wednesday, the country recorded 3,176 new Covid-19 cases, with data submissions from 105 out of 112 Covid-19 laboratories, bringing the total to 245,143.

An additional 376 people have recovered from the disease, raising the total to 185,543, while 70 people have died, bringing the death toll to 3,986.

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