Poor contact tracing hampers testing effort -Robredo

If contact tracing in the country remains poor, the target number of COVID-19 tests will not be reached, Robredo said on Sunday.

In her weekly radio program, Robredo made the observation as she renewed calls to increase testing capacity in the Philippines, which is still an issue after more than a year of lockdowns.

The Philippines’ positivity rate as of Aug. 14 was 24.9%, which is higher than the international standard of less than 5%.

“Kahit available ang test, mahina iyong contact tracing so talagang kulang iyong naka-lineup ng test kasi hindi nag-te-trace enough,” Robredo said, describing her observation during their conduct of Swab Cab, the Office of the Vice President’s mobile swab test program in communities.

(Even if tests are available, as long as contact tracing remains weak, our line-up for tests is insufficient because we are not testing enough.)

The national government approved funds for the rehiring of 15,000 contact tracers in hopes of improving the pandemic response in the country.

Aside from this, the Vice-president also said accessibility for testing is still a problem, citing that Naga City, her hometown, had a “quota” for testing.

“Minsan kapag nag-umpukan ang na-e-expose, kulang ang test (If a small crowd has been exposed to the virus, there is lack of tests),” she also said.

Robredo added that some COVID-19 tests remained expensive even as President Rodrigo Duterte previously called for free testing in government health facilities in 2021.

In a previous television interview, Robredo called for the ramping up of testing capacity as well as conducting 1 million vaccinations a day to quickly achieve the target of herd immunity. — DVM, GMA News

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