Guevarra not consulted about gov’t plan to hunt COVID-19 patients
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) was not consulted about the government’s plan to do a house-to-house search for asymptomatic to COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
“I am not aware of any ‘house-to-house’ search for COVID-afflicted persons. We have not discussed this matter in the IATF, nor have I been consulted about it,” Guevarra told reporters.
At a press conference in Taguig last Tuesday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said they would tap the local government units and the police to do house-to-house in search of COVID-19 patients doing home quarantine.
But Guevarra said under the law on mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases “it is the duty of the person afflicted or his family to report or give notice of his communicable disease to prevent any contagion.”
“On the other hand, it is the duty of the government, for public health reasons, to place the afflicted person in a quarantine facility if there is no adequate isolation area in such person’s home,” he said.
He said what has a legal basis is the transfer of persons infected to a government quarantine facility if home quarantine is not feasible as he reiterated that the house-to-house action has not been brought up in any of the IATF meetings.
“Should the IATF agree there is a need for a house-to-house search for COVID-infected persons, it should be the barangay health workers and not police officers who should do that,” Guevarra said adding that “health workers are in a better position to determine if transfer to a government quarantine facility is appropriate.” [ac]
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