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PH eyes more contact tracers—tracing czar 

Gabbie Parlade

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Tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong said the government needs to recruit more contact tracers amid the rising number of people who get infected with the coronavirus disease.

In a radio interview, he said that an ideal team of four people composed of a health worker and a police investigator should be allotted to trace the close contacts of each COVID case.

However, due to the lack of staff, some of the infected patients remain to have untraced contacts.

“Four is to one sana ang ideal kaya lang na-ooverwhelm po ng cases nangyayari po yan.  Kung minsan hindi na po nako-contact trace. There are places dyan sa Manila na tumatawag sakin mga tao nag [positive] na sila pero not one of the local government contact tracers ay tumawag na sakanila,” he said.

Although the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ongoing recruitment and training allotted for thousands of contact tracers, he warned that it may not be enough.

“Malaking bagay iyong pag-recruit natin ng 50,000 na contact tracers. Pero kung tatanungin ninyo ako, is it enough? Hindi enough iyan, kukulangin tayo,” he said.

“We need volunteers, cause-oriented groups na sa tingin nila meron silang critical thinking ability, iyong members may investigative mindset, hindi naman naghahanap ng suweldo. They can always volunteer,” he added.

At present, the country has 97,400 contact tracers and may be increased to 150,000 as soon the government begins hiring.

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