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With Cash for Isolation, San Juan Hopes to Strengthen COVID Contact-Tracing

Transferring positive residents to quarantine facilities speeds up contact tracing.
by Clara Rosales
Aug 12, 2020
Photo/s: form Mayor Francis Zamora Facebook page

San Juan’s local government is offering P3,000 to COVID-19 patients who transfer to the city’s quarantine facilities, a move which speeds up contact-tracing efforts during modified enhanced community quarantine, Mayor Francis Zamora said Wednesday. 

The cash incentive addresses the worry that isolation would deprive someone of their livelihood, Zamora said. Contact-tracing is one of the pillars of the country's pandemic strategy that it seeks to strengthen during the MECQ in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite.

"This incentive is to make them transfer to quarantine facilities, so that we can extract them in the community, so that they cannot infect," Zamora told ANC.

The country has a 4-point strategy to slow the spread of the virus: test, isolate, treat, and trace. Gathering mild and asymptomatic cases in one facility clears the first three steps, and Zamora reported that the admitted cases have cooperated and listed down their close contacts so San Juan can follow through with the last step.

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Those who contract COVID-19 are required to isolate and share their contacts in order to prevent more infections. However, breadwinners and daily-wage earners fear testing positive and being quarantined, as this means 14 days or more of no work and no pay. Zamora said this incentive can ease the worries of working residents.

"A lot of them would worry about their families sasabihin nila 'wala kaming trabaho, wala kaming kahit ano' (they will say 'we don't have work, we don't have anything') so these are factors which oftentimes discourage them," Zamora said.

San Juan has some 383 active cases, and the city plans to conduct mass testing on Wednesday, he added.

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