Sun. Sep 19th, 2021

MANILA – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) is now in charge of leading the contact-tracing efforts of the government amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.

In a virtual presser on Sunday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said this was among the new guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Wednesday (April 8).

“The Office of Civil Defense (OCD), in coordination with other agencies and Local Government Units (LGUs) as may be appropriate, shall hereafter lead the contact-tracing efforts of the government,” he said.

Nograles, also IATF spokesperson, said the OCD and the Department of Health (DOH) are directed to enter into a data-sharing agreement (DSA) in accordance with the “Data Privacy Act” or Republic Act10173.

He also said the IATF adopts the policy of mandatory public disclosure of personal information relating to positive Covid-19 cases to enhance the contact-tracing efforts of the government.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines contact tracing as closely watching contacts after exposure to an infected person to help the contacts get care and treatment and prevent further transmission of the virus.

Contact tracing involves three basic steps namely contact identification, contact listing, and contact follow-up.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the IATF-EID to extend the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 30 to give government more time to enhance contact tracing efforts, isolate patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs), and increase its testing capacity.

Peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the national policy against Covid-19, earlier said mass testing for Covid-19 is ongoing.

Besides leading contact-tracing efforts, the OCD is also tasked to prepare an inventory of all the donated medicines and medical supplies to address Covid-19 to the national government under Administrative Order No. 27 signed by Duterte last March 31.

As Saturday, health authorities reported a total of 4,428 Covid-19 cases, 247 deaths, and 157 recoveries. (PNA)

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