MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) should take advantage of social media in contact tracing people infected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and those they had close interaction with, Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor said Friday.
Defensor, who serves as vice-chairperson of the House committee on health, said that through social media, the whereabouts of an infected person over the last 14 days can be determined as well as the people they came in close contact with.
“We should utilize social media in terms of reporting and contact tracing, where we have miserably failed. I have friends who tested positive for the infectious virus and none of them has been asked who they had interacted with,” Defensor said in a statement.
The lawmaker pointed out that there are 75 million Facebook users in the country, making Filipinos one of the most active users of the platform.
Defensor added that even in poor communities in urban and rural areas, people use mobile phones, Facebook, and other social media to communicate with their relatives and friends here and abroad.
The lawmaker likewise appealed to families of those who tested positive for the virus and who are on home quarantine or those who are recovering in their homes not to go out for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus just in case they got infected.
“The health system was on the brink of collapse when President Duterte heeded the call of our medical workers for a timeout to ease pressure on it and to allow them some rest,” Defensor said.
“Hospitals in Metro Manila are in full capacity, and the capital has 3,000 active cases,” he added.
As of August 6, there are 119,460 COVID-19 cases in the country, with the recoveries at 66,837 and the death toll at 2,150.