Use Facebook, social media for contact tracing – Defensor

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Anakalusugan party-list Representative Michael Defensor suggested Friday authorities should utilize and other social media platforms to improve efforts of the Philippines amid the COVID-19 crisis.

On Thursday, the Philippines topped the South East Asian countries in virus cases, overtaking Indonesia, with a total of 115,980 cases as of August 6.

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“We should make full use of Facebook and other social media platforms. We have 75 million Facebook users, and we are one of the most active nations in terms of social media. We should utilize social media in terms of reporting and contact tracing, where we have miserably failed,” Defensor said in a statement.

“I have friends who tested positive for the infectious virus, and none of them has been asked who they had interacted with. By looking at these social media [accounts], we can determine where infected persons were in the past 14 days and who they were in close contact with,” the solon added.

Defensor made the call even as the national government implemented the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) as well as One Hospital Command Center programs.

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Use Facebook, social media for contact tracing

CODE teams would be deployed to look for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms in areas where there is a high number of community transmissions and test them using Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction tests.

The teams will visit the Pinagbuhatan in Pasig, Addition Hills in Mandaluyong, Sucat in Muntinlupa, Potrero in Malabon, Pembo in Makati, San Antonio in Paranaque, Brgy 12 in  Caloocan, Batasan Hills in Quezon City, CAA – BF International in Las Pinas, and Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.

The government hired 60,000 contact tracers so far, which is less than half of the 180,000 Department of Health has set.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, meanwhile, denied reports that the Philippines is already the new COVID-19 hotspot in Southeast Asia after overtaking Indonesia as the country with the highest number of infections in the region.
Roque defended that the Philippines already tested 1.5% (1.64 million) of its population of 110 million, while Indonesia only tested 0.34% (908,000) of its population of 273 million.
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