Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday asked the Department of Health [DOH] to step up its campaign to detect and contain transmission of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus [COVID-19] in the country.
The Senator made the call after DOH’s report of the first two Filipino cases of COVID-19, one of whom had no history of travel abroad. “This is the first case of local transmission of COVID-19. Ibig sabihin, may nagkakahawaan na sa loob ng bansa,” Hontiveros declared.
“This is a cause for concern and a wake-up call for our health officials. We should not give the public a false sense of security because the danger of local transmission is real,” she also said, citing reports of the Taiwanese and Australian nationals who have tested as carriers of the coronavirus after their travel to the Philippines.
Hontiveros urged the DOH to review its screening and testing protocol. “Parang hindi sapat. DOH should intensify its monitoring and surveillance to include all travelers, not just those who come from countries with high prevalence of COVID-19,” she urged.
The Senator also said that DOH has to intensify local community health systems in the fight against the virus. “Detection and containment will improve if our community health surveillance and monitoring also improve,” Hontiveros pointed out. “Isama natin ang mga local government units at mga barangay sa laban kontra sa virus na ito,” she also said.
Hontiveros said that this global outbreak ‘will test the country’s public health system.’ “A weak health system poses a risk to public health. We need the DOH to be hawk-eyed and transparent with the public every step of the way,” she concluded. (senate.gov.ph)