DOJ chief: Those with COVID-19 exposure, symptoms can be compelled to get tested
MANILA, Philippines — Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms can be compelled to undergo mandatory quarantine and swab tests, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Sunday.
Guevarra was sought for comment on Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco’s concern on residents who refuse to undergo COVID-19 swab tests even if it is for free.
“As a general rule, a person cannot be compelled to take a swab test, even if it’s for free, if said person has not been exposed to a COVID-positive person and does not exhibit any symptoms of the disease,” Guevarra said.
“However, a person who has been so exposed and exhibits clear manifestations of the disease may be compelled, in the interest of public health, to undergo swab testing, be mandatorily quarantined, and be medically treated to prevent the further spread of the disease,” he added.
Guevarra also noted that “moral suasion” could be more effective than “threatening people with suit if they refuse to be tested against their will.”
“Health professionals are in a better position than anyone else to explain to the people the benefit of voluntary testing, especially if it’s offered by the government for free,” he went on.
Tiangco said Navotas has increased its testing capacity to 2,200 a day but only about 1,300 availed of the free swab test.
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