MANILA - Baguio City is serving as a "good example" for other cities and provinces in the Philippines in curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a government official said Wednesday.
National Task Force on COVID-19 spokesperson Restituto Padilla said Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong is leading the city well in containing the fast-spreading pathogen, which has infected more than 3,800 people in the Philippines as of Wednesday.
"Tatlo po ang direksyon ang kaniyang tinatahak...Una, transparency and communication. Pangalawa, mass testing. At ang pangatlo, effective contact tracing," Padilla said in a press briefing.
Padilla, who stepped in for NTF chair Carlito Galvez Jr., noted the mayor's "directions" in arresting COVID-19 spread is "well within" the national government's course of action against the disease.
"Lahat po ito ay sang-ayon sa ating national action plan template, na ninanais po namin na sana maintindihan at magawa ng lahat ng ating mga LGUs (local government units) sa iba't ibang panig ng Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao," the official said.
For the past 10 days, Baguio has not logged new COVID-19 cases after recording 14 infections in total.
Out of the 14, 7 have recovered.
The northern city's last case was reported on March 29.
According to local health officials, the implementation of the "enhanced community quarantine" or lockdown in Baguio was effective.
"Seemingly our ECQ is effective in Baguio City. Our contact tracing has improved and it’s efficient. So ibig sabihin nata-track lahat ng contacts ng mga positive na ito. So hindi tayo nagkakaroon ng transmission...Napakaganda diba because we were able to contain it within Baguio City," said Dr. Rowena Galpo, a Baguio city health officer.
Five COVID-19 patients in Baguio reportedly consented to having their identities revealed for fast contact tracing.
The city also uses "artificial intelligence analyzer" in its CT scans to immediately identify if a person possibly has the virus, and those he or she had contact with.
The Baguio police also commended the discipline of city residents.
"Unang-una, mabilis kausap. Pangalawa po ay since April 2...wala naman po tayong nahuli ng violation ng curfew or violation ng provisions ng enhanced community quarantine. Kita naman po natin they are very amiable at napaka-cooperative ng mga kababayan po natin when they are being checked ng ating mga patrollers, ng ating mga checkpoints," said Police Col. Allen Rae Co, city director of the Baguio City Police.
Health officials, however, warned against being complacent since it's too early to say the city has successfully flattened the curve.
"Hindi pa rin kasi we have to wait at least for two incubation periods actually to see kung wala nang papasok pero ang magiging challenge is when to lift the lockdown. Kaya sana before ma-lift yung lockdown, magawa yung mass testing," said Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, regional director of Department of Health - Cordillera Administrative Region.--With a report from Michelle Soriano, ABS-CBN News