Octa research group still advocates Covid-19 testing on tourists
MANILA, Philippines — The Octa research team on Tuesday said it is still advocating for Covid-19 testing for local travelers to curb the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.
Dr. Butch Ong of the research group made this remark after Cebu announced it will no longer require swab tests from visitors entering the province.
He said testing is still needed to monitor Covid-19 cases through testing since there are asymptomatic cases in the country.
“Kailangan talaga natin ng testing. We need to monitor kung sino talaga ang may Covid-19 kasi marami sa kababayan natin ang asymptomatic,” he said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
(We really need testing. We need to monitor who are infected with Covid-19 because a lot of our countrymen are asymptomatic.)
“So ‘yung paglipat ng isang tao from an area to another na asymptomatic could become a problem kapag mataas ang viral load ng traveler na ‘yun,” Ong added.
(So the transfer of an asymptomatic person from an area to another could become a problem when that person has a high viral load.)
The announcement of dropping the swab test requirement for tourists in the country came amid rising Covid-19 cases in the province and in the independent cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, as well as the discovery of two virus mutations on the island.
Ong said the upward trend of cases in the province has “slowed down,” noting that the r-naught or the reproduction number of COVID-19 stands at 1.5 while the positivity rate is at 15%
A reproduction number of more than 1 means that the infection is spreading to more people since one infected person could infect one or more people.
Ong said the health care utilization rate of the province is at 62%, meaning it can still manage Covid-19 patients in its hospitals.
The Octa research group recommends to Cebu localized lockdowns and mobility restrictions where cases are high to curb the spread of Covid-19.
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