MANILA— Government continues to hire contact tracers as part of the country's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and is close to reaching its 50,000 target required under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2), an official said Saturday.
At the Laging Handa briefing, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said government has hired 35,345 contact tracers, with about 15,000 left to be recruited to reach its goal.
Of the figure, 27,879 have been deployed to different local government units.
"Ang latest na na-hire ng DILG ay nasa 35,345 at sa numerong po ito na 27,879 ay na-train na po natin at mga na-train natin na-deploy na natin sa iba’t ibang LGU," Malaya said in a press briefing Saturday.
(The DILG has hired 35,345 contact tracers and among them, 27,879 have been trained. They have been deployed to different LGUs.)
The DILG has, meanwhile, received some 65,000 applications and around 57,743 have been processed, of which "many" are qualified, Malaya said.
The official said the hiring and deployment of contact tracers may wrap up "in the next week."
As mandated by the Bayanihan 2 law, the hiring of more contact tracers started in September as the government tried to ramp up its coronavirus response and speed up tracking and tracing close contacts of people who have tested positive for the contagious disease.
Authorities earlier said they sought to prioritize those who have finished allied medical courses and criminology when hiring contact tracers, but it has also considered acquiring contact tracers who have graduated other college courses.
Contact tracing is a critical component in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak, which is seeing a downtrend in recent weeks.
As of Friday, the Philippines has logged 351,750 COVID-19 cases, including 50,354 active infections. Of the total confirmed cases, 294,865 have recovered and 6,531 have died.