Contact tracing launched as Cardinal Tagle infected with COVID-19: czar


Posted at Sep 13 2020 09:15 AM | Updated as of Sep 13 2020 09:35 AM

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MANILA - Authorities have launched contact tracing after former Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle tested positive for the coronavirus, one of the country's pandemic czars said Sunday.

Contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the announcement of Tagle's infection would alert his close contacts.

"Ako po, confident ako na ni-launch na kaagad na, mismo ng Simbahan. (Simbahan) siguro ang nag-launch nun, nakipag-coordinate with the concerned local government unit," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(I'm confident that contact tracing has been launched by the Church. The Church might have launched it in coordination with the local government unit.)

"And besides, very positive po yun na ang isang positive case ay very popular, immediately identified ang nakasama mo."

(And besides, it's welcome that the positive case is very popular, (because) you already know who you came in contact with.)

The cardinal, who is the current prefect of the Holy Office's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is asymptomatic and now in isolation, according to the Vatican's German language news website. His office has yet to release an official statement.

Tagle was confirmed positive for the coronavirus upon his recent arrival in Manila, the Vatican News had reported. Before that, he got a negative result after taking a coronavirus test in Rome last Sept. 7.

Tagle was in Turin, Italy last week to take part in the episcopal ordination of the new Apostolic Nuncio for Mongolia, Fr. Giorgio Marengo.

According to an official bulletin of the Vatican, he met with Pope Francis on Aug. 29.

Authorities define close contacts as those who have interacted with the virus patient without protective gear within 1 meter and within 15 minutes, Magalong said.

The Philippines currently has a contact tracing ratio of 1:5 due to lack of manpower, he added.

The proposed contact tracing ratio in urban areas is up to 1:30 to 37, and 1:25 to 30 in rural areas, according to Magalong.

"Malayo pa ho tayo sa benchmark natin, pero nagkakaroon po tayo ng improvement," he said.

(We are far from reaching the benchmark, but we are improving.)

Government has yet to hire an additional 50,000 contact tracers as it awaits additional funding under the Bayanihan 2 Law, Magalong earlier said.