Roque: Authorities to do house-to-house search for people with coronavirus symptoms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 27) — With the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the Greater Manila area starting Monday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said authorities will be do a house-to-house search for possible COVID-19 patients.

In a briefing on Saturday, Roque assured the public this will not violate human rights since this is part and parcel of the quarantine. This will also give special attention to areas placed under granular lockdown, he noted.

Roque also said the government wants to trace, isolate, and quarantine 95% of a COVID-19 patient's close contacts within 24 hours of notification.

To further increase the country's testing capacity, some 500,000 anti-gen test kits will be procured to augment supply of swab test kits, he added. Currently, Roque said the Philippines can conduct 51,000 tests per day, far from the minimum requirement of at least 100,000 given the latest COVID-19 situation.

Roque said more contact tracers will be also deployed.

For local governments outside the Greater Manila area, Roque said they were instructed to implement enhanced prevent, detect, isolation, treatment, and rehabilitation measures to limit mobility and minimize delays in case detection, contact tracing, and isolation in their respective jurisdictions. This will cover areas in Central Luzon, the Cordillera Administrative Region, as well as the provinces of Quezon and Batangas.

The government placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under the strictest ECQ amid a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Health experts agreed a stricter lockdown is the best approach to control the rising number of cases, but they also noted that this should be supported by expanded contact tracing and faster testing.

The country has recorded more than 9,000 COVID-19 infections for two days. To date, cases have reached more than 712,000, with a new all-time high for the number of active cases at 118,122.