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COVID-19 WATCH

Gov’t eyes hiring of 50K contact tracers

Kristina Maralit

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Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Monday revealed that the government will hire 50,000 additional contact tracers by July to augment the existing 35,000 personnel tasked to track down individuals who interacted with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.

“We are still coordinating with the DoH (Department of Health) on whether they will be absorbed by the DoH or the DILG because there is still a gray area. But whichever, that can be done,” Año said in a radio interview.

Applicants who are college degree holders with medical and healthcare backgrounds aged 21 years old and up are preferred, he added.

“This is not just merely looking for people hit by the virus, good communication skills are also needed as well as the knowledge on proper health and safety protocols,” said Año.

A big bulk of the successful applicants will be deployed in parts of the country with a high number of COVID-19 infections such as the National Capital Region, Regions 2, 3, 4-A, 7, and 11 and Cebu province.

Contract tracers will be given a one year contract, subject to renewal, with a starting pay of P20,000, according to the official.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier said public utility jeepney drivers are being eyed as contact tracers so the county would meet the 126,000 benchmark set by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) for the Philippines to reach the ideal ratio of one tracer for every 800 people.

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