CDC: Testing, physical distancing, isolation, hand washing key to slow down COVID-19 spread

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2020 01:15 PM

MANILA - The lead of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 International Task Force stressed the importance of as much testing as possible, isolation of the sick, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

"What you want is to slow things down and then use the time that you gain by slowing anything down, to do everything possible to prepare," Dr. Barbara Marston said.

Speaking to reporters in a teleconference, Marston also recommended to use the time that the country will gain in slowing the disease down to prepare the health system, train health workers, and help people understand the disease while the world awaits for a vaccine or treatment. 

Mastron said there is no easy answer when asked what the Philippines should prioritize at this point.
 
"So what we do is if we slow down is really use any time that we gain to do as much preparing as possible to increasing testing capacity, or improving the plans of hospitals or the training of health care workers. There’s no easy answer,” she said.

Marston has no specific recommendation when asked if the enhanced community quarantine being implemented in Luzon should be further extended. 

The lockdown was recently extended to April 30 from the original end date of April 12. 
 
“Nobody knows completely how to do that yet and again the US is trying to figure that out, lots of countries are trying to figure that out. The facts that you have to consider are how the cases decline, what would happen if there were more cases, is the system ready to take on more cases and to balance all of those things," Marston said.

She added, "But I think it’s a difficult question that everybody is grappling with now. And we won’t have a specific recommendation for what to do in the Philippines. Whatever is done is gonna have to be done carefully and kind of watched.”