The Department of Health expressed support to the National Task Force’s plan to ban home quarantine for COVID-19 asymptomatic or mild cases and their close contacts to prevent community transmission.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made the statement after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced yesterday that the government would implement a home quarantine ban.
The DILG chief, however, clarified that there would be an exception on the home quarantine ban as they finalize the guidelines. As an example, he cited an elderly woman who could be challenging to take care of in a quarantine facility could be exempted from the ban.
“Based on observations of the National Task Force, marami ang naka-home quarantine at preferred ito ng mga tao, at nagkakaroon ng community transmission. Kaya ayon po sa proposal ng National Task Force, mas preferred na po ng gobyerno na iyong mga symptomatic at mga close contact [ng COVID-19 patients] ay ma-isolate sa TTMF instead of home quarantine,” Vergeire said in an online briefing.
In July, DOH said community transmission is the primary cause of the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 cases in the country.
Vergeire also reported Monday the COVID-19 clusters in the country are highest in communities, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, and different modes of transportation.
She said 84.9% or 1,480 of the 1,742 instances of clustering of cases are found in communities.
DOH supports ban on home quarantine
She added the second-highest incidence of COVID-19 clusters at 8.09% or 140 was found in other settings, including the transportation sector and nine BPO companies.
Meanwhile, 5.11% or 89 cases of clustering were reported in hospitals and health care facilities, while 1.84% or 32 clusters were logged in jails and prison facilities.
Meanwhile, Vergeire also reported that the country’s contract tracing efforts have improved.
“From a ratio of three close contacts per one COVID-19 patient being traced, the ratio is now 1:4 to 1:10. That is a significant improvement,” she said.
“But even if we are seeing good indicators, we should not be complacent,” she added.
As of September 8, the Philippines has 52,893 active cases of COVID-19 after recording 185,178 recoveries and 3,916 deaths.