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Contact tracing is gov’t’s weakest point in COVID response, Palace admits

By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: ABS-CBN News

The government’s efforts in contact tracing is the weakest link in addressing the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang admitted on Thursday.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, in a media briefing, is wondering why the contact tracing app StaySafe.PH is not being widely use despite its almost a year launch.

StaySafe.PH is an application requiring individuals to take a photo of QR codes for access and filing contact tracing forms through the use of mobile phones.

"We are managing it very well, but the [contact] tracing, the StaySafe app, nahihilo na ako, hindi ko maintindihan bakit hindi natin ginagamit ito,” Roque said.

"This is an area that needs to be tremendously improved. I will have to admit, dito tayo pinakamahina.”

"Napakaimportante ng tracing para ma-isolate ‘yung close contacts at maiwasan ang pagkalat ng sakit,” Roque added.

He made the response amid a surge of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila which has an active case count of 9,000.

Roque said the country has not been able to keep up with the standard set by contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalog where 32 individuals in close contact with a patient infected with COVID-19 should be tracked and tested.

The government said last year it will require the use the StaySafe.PH app for businesses establishments and public transport in order to continuously reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in the country and at the same time jumpstart the economy.

Information technology experts, however, expressed concern on the use of StaySafe.ph over data privacy issues.


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