Feliciano: Mass testing mulled in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The implementation of granular lockdowns in areas with high cases of the coronavirus disease is not enough to put an end to the spread of the infection in Cebu City.
Retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano, the deputy chief implementer of the Interagency Task Force (IATF) in the Visayas, said that lockdowns will have to be paired with the conduct of mass testings to make sure that all the infected individuals are identified, placed on isolation, and given the needed medical care.
But before they could decide on the implementation of mass testing in the city, Feliciano said that they will have to first look at its budgetary requirement.
“Pag-uusapan pa ano ang less expensive. Mag-uusap pa (with experts) ano ang maganda if PCR ba or yung rapid testing gagamitin,” he said in an virtual presser with Cebu reporters on Tuesday, July 28.
(We will have to determine which is less expensive. We will have to identify the best option available, whether PCR or rapid testing.)
But while they look into the cost and viability of mass testing in Cebu City, Felicinao said that they will continue to train barangay-based contact tracers to hasten the conduct of contact tracing in the city’s 80 barangays.
“Yung mga contact tracing teams nadagdagan sa mga barangays. Dapat may mga contact tracing ang mga barangays,” he said.
(The contract tracing teams in the barangays continue to grow in number. It is best for all the barangays [in the city] to have contact tracing.)
Cebu City has so far deployed more than 90 teams of contact tracers.
Barangay contact tracers are placed under the direct supervision of the city’s contact tracing teams.
Felicinao said that he also met with barangay captains on Monday, July 27, to discuss the possibility of placing more barangays under granular lockdown.
He urged barangay captains to make a request with the IATF to place certain areas in their respective barangays with high COVID-19 cases under lockdown so that the lockdown in their areas can also be lifted after two weeks or just in time for the declaration of general community quarantine (GCQ) in Cebu City.
Feliciano said that if the lockdowns now implemented in at least five barangays in the city would result in the continuous decline in cases of the infection here, there is an even greater possibility that the city will already enjoy a more relaxed quarantine status starting on August 1.
In an earlier interview, Environmental Secretary Roy Cimatu also mentioned the city’s improving COVID-19 situation which could lead to the downgrade of its status to GCQ. / dcb
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