MMDA to hire more contact tracers as COVID-19 cases surge in Metro Manila

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2021 08:15 AM | Updated as of Mar 09 2021 09:50 AM

Pedestrians croos the footbridge after taking public transportation at the center bus lane terminal near Nepa-QMart along EDSA in Quezon City on March 05, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will hire 300 contact tracers who will be deployed across the capital region as COVID-19 cases surge, its chairman said Tuesday.

The MMDA has also asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government for more contact tracers, said MMDA chairman Benhur Abalos. The interior agency last year said it aims to hire an additional 50,000 contact tracers nationwide.

"Ang MMDA kami mismo maghahire ng additional contact tracers na ilalagay namin sa LGUs (local government units) ng Kalakhang Maynila," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(The MMDA will hire additional contact tracers who we'll deploy to LGUs.)

"'Wag po muna dahil nakakabahala po, medyo alarming, halos dumodoble, wala pa hong 2 linggo," he added when asked if mayors will back the easing of the region's quarantine level.

(Not yet, it's alarming, the cases almost doubled in less than 2 weeks.)

The Metro Manila Council will possibly meet this week to discuss the rising number of virus cases in the region, Abalos said.

The council had met over the weekend and agreed to close cinemas and amusement centers, intensify the enforcement of minimum public health standards, contact tracing, and isolation, Abalos added.

"Ang obserbasyon, 3 bagay ang importante: number 1 sa ating bahay, sa hanay ng transportation, at pangatlo sa workplace," he said.

(There are three areas important in observing health protocols: number 1 at home, in public transportation, and at the workplace.)

"If we could review practices, protocols in these places, wherein we could have some more procedures on the local level or even the national level," he told ANC's Headstart.

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Adhering to minimum health standards is among the most effective ways to prevent virus spread, Abalos said.

"At the end of the day, with all of these procedures, the most effective are 2 things: it’s the vaccine, it’s our self-discipline—the minimum health protocols," he said.

"Malaking bagay ang attitude ng tao, kaya nananawagan ako dahil baka COVID fatigue ito eh halos 1 year na po ang lockdown. At meron pa tayong bakuna, baka iniisip ng tao nandyan na hindi na sinusuot ang mga maskara. So ang panawagan namin talagang disiplina po."

(A person's attitude is a big factor, the rise in cases maybe due to COVID fatigue as we near a year in lockdown. People may also think just because the vaccines have arrived they no longer need to wear masks. So we really call for discipline.)

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