Go appeals for continuous engagement, hiring of 15,000 contact tracers to combat Delta variant

Go appeals for continuous engagement, hiring of 15,000 contact tracers to combat Delta variant

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has requested
President Rodrigo Duterte and concerned agencies to continue to engage
and hire 15,000 contact tracers from August 2 to December 31,
highlighting their critical role in the government’s pandemic response
operations.

“Ang pagiging contact tracer ay isang mainam na paraan para makatulong
sa inyong mga kababayan. At the same time, makakapagbigay pa tayo ng
trabaho para sa mga Pilipinong nawalan ng kabuhayan,” he explained.

“Habang nakakatulong sila sa laban kontra COVID-19, matutulungan rin
natin ang mga contact tracers na maitawid ang kanilang mga pamilya
laban sa gutom at kahirapan,” Go added.

Given the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19,
Go emphasized the important role contact tracers play in managing the
pandemic and not squandering the chance for early preparation.

“Contact tracing and case investigation are important parts of our
COVID-19 response,” Go, who serves as Chair of the Senate Committee on
Health, emphasized.

“Marami po sa ating mga kababayan ang gustong tumulong. Pwede silang
maging contact tracers kung bibigyan sila ng karampatang training at
kompensasyon bilang kabuhayan na rin sa mga nawalan ng trabaho,” he
said.

A major pillar of the COVID-19 response, according to Go, is the
detection of suspect, probable, and confirmed COVID-19 instances.

He explained, “Contact tracing enables the quarantine and treatment of
those who may have been infected with the virus, interrupting the
infection’s chain of transmission.”

Notably, contact tracers are the initial point of contact for COVID-19
cases. They conduct case interviews and risk assessments, monitor
close and general contacts daily for at least 14 days, and keep
accurate records of those contacts.

The anticipated cost of hiring 15,000 contact tracers through December
31 amounts to almost 1.7 billion pesos. With the hiring of the
requested contact tracers, the government intends to meet the
Department of Health’s 1:10 contact tracer-to-individual ratio.

“Sana po ay magawan natin ng paraan para tuluy-tuloy ang paghire ng
contact tracers sa bansa, lalo na ngayong may bantang dala ang Delta
variant. Hinihimok ko po ang gobyerno na hanapan ito ng pondo para po
tuluy-tuloy ang kanilang trabaho,” said Go.

To combat the spread of the Delta variant, the Inter-Agency Task Force
on Emerging Infectious Diseases has agreed to put NCR on heightened
GCQ until August 5, 2021, and ECQ from August 6 to August 20.

Aside from the reinstatement of ECQ and border controls, Go has
previously called for the expansion of healthcare facilities, a faster
vaccination deployment, and increased contact tracing and genome
sequencing.

“Maliban sa istriktong quarantine guidelines, mas paigtingin din natin
ang border control at travel restrictions sa bansang maraming kaso ng
Delta variant. Hinihimok ko rin ang pamahalaan na mas palakasin pa ang
contact tracing at genome sequencing sa bansa,” said Go.

“Patuloy din nating dagdagan ang kapasidad ng mga healthcare
facilities at, higit sa lahat, mas pabilisin ang pagbabakuna,” he
added. (ai/mtvn)

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