The common practice of undergoing home quarantine for asymptomatic and mild cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) fueled the widespread community transmission of the respiratory illness, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday.
Galvez, chief implementer of the government’s pandemic response, said home quarantine was one of lapses observed by the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
“Una na nakita nating lapses ang mga common practice na home quarantine na naging sanhi ng malawakang community transition sa Metro Manila, Region IV-A, Region VII, Iligan, Bacolod at iba pang lugar sa bansa,” Galvez said in a briefing.
“Naninindigan po tayo sa ating paniniwalang hindi makakabuti ang home quarantine sa karamihan ng mga pasyente, especially for mild or asymptomatic cases. Katulad po ng ating nasabi, sa tahanan po mabilis na kumalat ang sakit,” Galvez added.
The inter-agency COVID-19 task force earlier discouraged home quarantine and pushed for facility-based isolation for COVID-19 cases.
The government later launched Oplan Kalinga, a program where mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases whose houses are not conducive for home isolation are brought to state-run quarantine facilities.
“The longer a COVID-19 patient stays in his home, the greater the chances that he or she will infect others kaya kung may nag-positibo po sa inyong kapamilya, ipagbigay alam po ninyo agad sa mga awtoridad upang madala siya sa pinakamalapit na quarantine facility,” Galvez said.
Galvez also said that the country lacked isolation and quarantine facilities for confirmed, suspected, and probable COVID-19 cases.
At present, the Philippines has 10,559 Ligtas-COVID centers with a total bed capacity of 164,256 and 19 mega temporary treatment and management facilities with 3,031 beds.
The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said that the occupancy rate of these mega facilities was in the “danger zone” at over 70 percent.
The utilization rate of 22 hotels converted into isolation facilities was also at 79 percent, according to Galvez.
“Kaya naman po patuloy ang pamahalaan sa pagtatayo ng mga quarantine at isolation facilities sa buong bansa. Sa pamamagitan ng mga pasilidad na ito, mayroon nang malinis at ligtas na lugar kung saan maaring magpagaling ang mga pasyente,” he said.
The Philippines has recorded 228,403 COVID-19 cases with 159,475 recoveries and 3,688 deaths as of Thursday afternoon. -NB, GMA News