Press Release
March 12, 2021

Where is mass testing, tracing, and isolation one year on: Pangilinan

SENATOR Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Friday said it will take more than the newly-imposed uniform curfew in Metro Manila and the presence of the police to rein in the coronavirus infection which is on the rise anew.

"Mag-iisang taon na ang kung ano-anong CQ o lockdown. Nakita na natin ang epekto. Hindi nakokontrol ang pagkalat ng sakit ng pag-aresto at lalung-lalo na ng pagkulong sa mga quarantine violators kung walang mass testing, contact tracing, at isolation," Pangilinan said.

"Kailangan natin ng mga solusyong galing sa mga eksperto sa public health, hindi yung mga eksperto sa baril o giyera. Kailangan natin ang kamay na ma-aruga ng mga doktor, nurse, contact tracers at vaccinators, hindi kamay na bakal. What we need are the caring hands of healthcare workers not the iron fist of armed men," he added.

The Metro Manila Council recently announced that it will impose a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the capital region starting March 15 in an effort to control the spread of the infection.

Police personnel are being eyed to patrol communities again to enforce health protocols.

The Philippine National Police has also warned against making public displays of affection as it could spread the virus.

Pangilinan said the year-long government experience with Covid control should inform the next steps, including the vaccine roll-out.

"Today feels like March 2020 all over again, with the spike in Covid cases and the slow vaccine roll-out," Pangilinan said.

"Ilan na ba ang na-test? Paano yung mga walang pambayad ng test? Has the much-touted 10 million tests by the first of quarter of 2021 been achieved? What's our data on contact tracing? Has it been effective? How is our vaccine procurement, delivery, and administration going?" he asked.

According to Malacañang, the Philippines has vaccinated at least 114,000 people out of its 70 million target this year. To reach its target, the Philippines would need to vaccinate nearly 229,000 people a day until end of year 2021, said Edson Guido of the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team.

As of March 11, the country posted 3,749 new cases for a total of 607,048. A total of 12,608 have died of Covid.

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