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7月16日のまにら新聞から

No house-to-house search of COVID-19 patients, says Palace

[ 412 words|2020.7.16|英字 (English) ]

Malacañang denied on Wednesday there would be house-to-house search for persons who could have new coronavirus infection and bring them to isolation facilities.

In an interview with ANC, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said what Republic Act No. 11332 provides is mandatory reporting of communicable diseases.

"We don't have a provision for house-to-house. It's only political critics of the government again, weaponizing this very important task of tracing," he said.

He clarified that authorities would only go to a house once somebody reported that there is a COVID-19 case.

"They will have to be reported by the persons themselves, their family or the barangay," Roque said.

He said the government prefers that asymptomatic and mild cases surrender and confine themselves in isolation centers.

"We are enticing them with the fact that these are air conditioned centers, free lodging, free meals at three times a day and with free WiFi ‘no and with a graduation ceremony to prove, after the 14-day quarantine period. There will be doctors and nurses also assigned in isolation facilities. Do not have the misimpression that these are not medical facilities; these are medical facilities, visited by ...specialist, respiratory doctors," he explained.

An individual, despite being asymptomatic, who refused to go to government's isolation facility once reported could be forced by the authorities under the police power of the government, he said.

"Let me make this very clear: The legal basis to bring them, to have the asymptomatic and the mild cases without any isolation facilities or with vulnerable living with them is still inherent police power of the state. This is still promotion of public health. So make no mistake about it, anywhere in the world, if there's a need to quarantine, the government can get him/her," Roque said.

The government has several COVID-19 isolation facilities nationwide.

Roque said only 40 to 50 percent of the isolation facilities have been filled up because "we have actually been tolerant of individuals staying home in quarantine, even if we are not sure that they have the proper isolation facilities."

He said home quarantine is allowed if there is a separate comfort room for the patient and no housemates who belong to vulnerable sector, among others.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said authorities would perform house-to-house search of COVID-19 positive and would bring them to quarantine facilities.

This drew criticisms among people, saying it would be a violation of their constitutional right to be secure in their houses. Celerina Monte/DMS