“Testing remains as the vital link to the rest of the public health strategies of contact tracing and isolation, in order to truly mitigate the spread of more infectious variants like Omicron in communities.”
Tags: mass testing
“We don’t have a concept of disease surveillance where communities are regularly tested, or in looking for the possible source of infection.”
With the government’s inability to control the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, community health advocates are up in arms over the government’s response that, for the last 500 or so days, mainly resorted to stricter lockdowns.
Restricting mobility is meant to give government the time to build its capacities to stop the spread of the virus. But what happens when a government only resorts to a lockdown and nothing else?
They called for financial aid, mass testing, vaccination and to stop attacks on urban poor.
Health advocate and community doctor Josh San Pedro said that mass testing remains important amid the increasing number of cases, and the new coronavirus variant, which is proving to be more transmissible. After all, vaccines have no 100 efficacy rate and that chances of getting infected remain.
“We cannot accept the Court’s reasoning that it is barred from compelling the executive to protect the people’s right to health ‘in a certain way or to a certain degree’ and ‘no matter how dire the emergency’ when it is obvious that the current response is a huge failure and places our people’s health and safety in peril.”
While the Duterte administration has implemented a two-week stricter lockdown, other legitimate demands raised by medical experts have been largely ignored. It must be pointed out that many of the recommendations have been articulated by several health NGOs since day 1 but, unfortunately, these have fallen on deaf ears.
With the cases increasing, concerned government agencies are swamped with backlogs, particularly on validating COVID-19 cases and an overwhelmed public health system.
Mass testing, according to the petitioners, should be made free and accessible to all suspect cases, contacts of probable and confirmed cases, frontline healthworkers, and high-risk and vulnerable communities.
By DEE AYROSO