THE vice chairman of the House committee on health on Friday urged the Department of Health (DoH) to take advantage of social media in contact tracing people infected by the new coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) and those they had close interaction with.
“We should make full use of Facebook and other social media platforms. We have 75 million FB users and we are one of the most active nations in terms of social media,” Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, the panel vice chairman, said.
“We should utilize social media in terms of reporting and contact tracing, where we have miserably failed. I have friends who tested positive for the infectious virus and none of them has been asked who they had interacted with,” he said.
He said there are also contact tracing applications the DOH could use.
Defensor added that even in poor communities in urban and rural areas, people use mobile phones, and FB and other social media to communicate with their relatives and friends here and abroad.
“With social media, we can determine where infected persons were in the past 14 days and who they were in close contact with,” he stressed.
He also appealed to families of those who tested positive for the virus and who are on home quarantine or are recovering in their homes not to get out for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus just in case they got infected.
Defensor called for the full cooperation of everyone to stop the transmission of the virus before the country’s hospital system gets overwhelmed.
“The health system was on the brink of collapse when President Duterte heeded the call of our medical workers for a timeout to ease pressure on it and to allow them some rest. Hospitals in Metro Manila are in full capacity, and the capital has 3,000 active cases,” he said.
At the same time, Defensor commended public officials who have admitted contracting the virus as a way of warning those they have interacted with to watch for symptoms and get tested if needed.
“If private citizens who have the infection can follow their example, that will go a long way in stopping this virus. I am sure there are many people who are willing to sacrifice their privacy to contribute to this national effort,” he said.