Palace: No house-to-house search for COVID-19 patients

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 04:45 PM

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque holds a press briefing in Malacañang, January 23, 2018. Toto Lozano, Presidential Photo/File

MANILA — Authorities will not go on a house-to-house search for coronavirus patients, Malacañang said Wednesday after police said local government units would guide such searches.

While the government "can isolate" coronavirus patients with mild or no symptoms, there is no provision for house-to-house searches, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

"Let me make it clear: There will be no house-to-house search for COVID positive patients," Roque said in a statement.

"They will have to be reported by the persons themselves, other members of the household, or their barangay officials," he added.

Roque issued the statement after Joint Task Force COVID Shield head Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said police would wait for the requests of LGUs on house-to-house searches for coronavirus patients. 

"Hindi po kami ang mangunguna dito. Hindi po kami ang magkukusa, magsasarili na kakatok sa mga bahay. Maghihintay po kami sa guidance at request ng LGU," Eleazar said in an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Wednesday.

(We won't lead here. We won't take the initiative, go knocking on houses on our own. We will wait for the guidance and request of the LGU.)

The Palace mouthpiece added that local health workers, not law enforcers, would take the lead on the transfer of COVID-19 patients to quarantine facilities from their homes.

"Police presence is merely to provide support or assistance in the transport of patients and the implementation of lockdown in the affected area," Roque said.

Earlier in the day, Roque said home quarantine is only allowed if a patient has his or her own room with an attached restroom, and they do not share the house with someone who has comorbidities, senior citizens or pregnant women who are vulnerable to COVID-19.

Those who do not satisfy these criteria should go to government isolation facilities, where they will have their own air-conditioned rooms with free meals and WiFi, he said.