MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been tasked to lead the government's contact tracing efforts against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Saturday.
“Kahapon po nadesisyunan po ng IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] na ang DILG na po, sa tulong ng ating mga LGU [local government units], ang mangunguna sa contact-tracing efforts," he said in a virtual press briefing.
(The IATF decided yesterday that the DILG, with the help of LGUs, should lead the contact tracing efforts.)
Contact tracing is a containment measure that involves identifying people who may have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient.
The DILG is ordered to enter a data-sharing agreement with the Department of Health (DOH) in accordance with the Data Privacy Act, said Nograles, spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
The government's coronavirus task force amended IATF Resolution No. 22, which earlier assigned the task to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD).
Under IATF Resolution No. 25, Nograles said the task force "adopts a national-government-enabled, LGU-led, and people-centered response to the COVID-19 health event.”
“In materializing the aforementioned general principles, all agencies are directed to recommend sector-specific plans, strategies, and targets to the IATF. The National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 is likewise directed to develop the necessary operational plans. LGUs are enjoined to pursue regional cooperation in leading the fight against COVID-19," he said.
Nograles had said patients diagnosed with COVID-19 must disclose personal information to enhance the government's efforts in locating people who may have come in contact with carriers of the disease.
Those who will disobey the government's order may face charges and penalties, he said.
Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act makes it obligatory to report medical conditions that are of public health concern.
As of Friday, the number of coronavirus infections in the Philippines was at 5,878. The tally includes 387 people who succumbed to the disease and 487 who have recovered.
The Philippine government has so far tested 42,215 individuals, latest data from the DOH showed.