OCTA group calls more contact-tracers as Philippines seeks to keep out Delta COVID-19 variant

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2021 08:51 PM

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Research group OCTA on Thursday urged the government to hire more contact-tracers as the Philippines seeks to prevent community transmission of the more contagious Delta COVID-19 variant. 

Lawmakers are deliberating on Bayanihan 3, the proposed third stimulus package to help the country cope with the pandemic, noted OCTA Research fellow Guido David. 

"We would really like to have more testing out there, lalo na sa ating mga probinsya (especially in our provinces). We would like to have more of budget na tuluy-tuloy (that is continuous) for contact tracing all throughout this year," he said in a televised public briefing. 

Authorities as recently as May said contact-tracing remained the weakest aspect of the country's COVID-19 management.

Earlier this week, the health department said it detected among international travelers 4 more cases of the Delta variant. This raised to 17 the Philippines' total tally of the variant that originated from India, where it brought the healthcare system to the brink of collapse. 

The Philippine government has suspended the entry of travelers from India and 6 other countries at least until June 30 to prevent the spread of the Delta variant. 

President Rodrigo Duterte also again required use of face shields in all public areas as an added precaution.