MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has directed all government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to adopt the revised classification system for people being checked for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The directive was made after the IATF-EID agreed on Monday night to approve the recommendation of National Task Force on Covid-19, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4 on Tuesday.

Nograles said the new set of guidelines for detecting Covid-19 should be included in state departments and LGUs’ subsequent documents containing government’s efforts to fight the new pathogen.

He added that existing documents issued by all government agencies and LGUs should also be updated.

“All agencies and Local Government Units (LGUs) are directed to apply said classification in all subsequent issuances related to Covid-19, as well as to update existing issuances in accordance therewith,” Nograles said.

Since January 28, the Philippines began classifying Covid-19 cases as either patients under investigation (PUIs) or persons under monitoring (PUMs).

The Department of Health (DOH), however, announced on Saturday that it modified the classification for Covid-19 cases.

PUMs, or those who may have been exposed to Covid-19 but exhibit no symptoms, are no longer included in the new classification.

Adopting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) interim guidance on global surveillance for the new coronavirus, the DOH is now using the terms “suspect,” “probable,” and “confirmed” for Covid-19 cases.

A PUI with mild, severe or critical symptoms who was not tested or awaiting test results is now branded as “suspect,” while a PUI with mild, severe or critical symptoms with inconclusive test results is referred to as a “probable” case.

A Covid-19 positive case, on the other hand, is now classified as “confirmed.”

Adoption of evaluation tool in assessing communities

Meantime, Nograles said the IATF-EID also approved the adoption of the Commission on Population’s (POPCOM) proposed evaluation tool for the assessment of the demographic vulnerabilities of communities to the Covid-19 health event.

He said LGUs, including those from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), should implement the adopted evaluation tool.

“LGUs, including the BARMM, are enjoined to implement such tool to assess communities in their irrespective jurisdictions,” Nograles said.

Nograles said the guidelines on the implementation of the evaluation tool would be jointly issued by DOH, Commission on Population and Development, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and National Economic and Development Authority.

“Mahalaga po ito para sa pagtukoy ng mga pamilyang makakatanggap ng tulong pinansyal mula sa gobyerno (It’s important to determine the families who are receiving financial assistance from the government),” he said.

In a virtual press briefing held in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Covid-19 is “10 times deadlier” than swine flu, which also caused a global pandemic in 2009.

Luzon Island and parts of Visayas and Mindanao have been placed under enhanced community quarantine to stop the further transmission of Covid-19 in the country.

The Philippines has so far recorded 4,932 Covid-19 confirmed cases, with 315 fatalities and 242 recoveries. (PNA)

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