NTF to intensify testing, tracing amid new Covid variants

NTF to intensify testing, tracing amid new Covid variants

MANILA – The National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) has committed to strengthen its testing and tracing as the more contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) variants are now present in Metro Manila.

In a Palace briefing Tuesday, NTF deputy chief implementer Vivencio Dizon admitted that the government has yet to achieve its desired level of contact tracing, but vowed to intensify efforts to detect the infected individuals in the community.

“What the local government units (LGUs) are doing now, they are very active in surveillance of those with symptoms. Those with colds, fever, and cough, even if they have not been contacted or tested, they are isolated and tested in isolation to ensure that the new variants do not spread quickly,” Dizon said in Filipino.

He added some LGUs are testing the residents of the whole block or street reported with Covid-19 to capture those who are positive of the coronavirus.

In terms of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, Dizon said the country can now process more than 50,000 tests a day from less than 1,000 tests a year ago.

From only one testing laboratory at the onset of the pandemic, the country increased the number of laboratories to 229, he said.

Dizon said the Department of Public Works and Highways also committed to add more quarantine facilities to isolate those positive of the virus.

“Before, 50 percent of the active cases are in home quarantine. But now, more than 80 percent of the active cases are in the isolation facilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, to boost the contact tracing efforts in the country, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has called on LGUs to avail its free contact tracing training program (CTTP).

Since it started the training program last September, TESDA now has 332 CTTP scholars who completed their training on Contact Tracing Level II.

To qualify, trainees must have completed at least 10 years of basic education, or holder of Alternative Learning System certificate of completion with Grade 10 equivalent, and have basic communication skills.

The TESDA also provides PHP2,400 allowance for the entire duration of the training program, insurance coverage, with additional allowance for internet expenses and personal protective equipment.

Graduates may apply in LGUs for possible employment after completing the training, and help in preventing the spread of Covid-19 in their communities. (PNA)

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