Magalong admits PH COVID-19 contact tracing weakness


Posted at Nov 20 2020 02:39 PM | Updated as of Nov 20 2020 02:58 PM

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The country's COVID-19 contact tracing czar Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong agreed Friday with the World Health Organization's recent assessment that Philippine efforts to find those who had interacted with coronavirus patients were "a little weak."

"It is true," Magalong said in a public briefing, noting that about only 7 contacts are identified for every patient with COVID-19.

Ideally, authorities should find about 37 contacts in urban areas and 30 contacts in rural areas, he said.

The lack of a data encoding system is a "major factor" for contact tracing lapses in some local governments, Magalong said.

"Mano-mano pa rin and arbitrary pa rin nila fini-fill out," he said. "Hula-hula na lang, pero 'pag tatanungin mo sa kaniya, ano ba iyong line list contacts ni Magalong, wala silang maipakita... There is no system."

(Filling out contact tracing forms is still manual and arbitrary. It is just a guess. If you ask them who are the line list contacts of Magalong, they can't show anything.)

Authorities are coming up with a uniform data collection tool, he said.

"It should be leadership-driven, dapat talagang makialam at deeply involved ang ating local government officials, especially mayors," Magalong said.