The Manila City Government has started escorting COVID-19 patients from their houses to quarantine facilities, in line with the national government’s Oplan Kalinga program.
Manila Health Department personnel went house-to-house to search for cases under home quarantine. The patients were then escorted to ambulances and then to isolation facilities in the city.
“Our goal as a city in our own little way is to continue to arrest, continue to contain the growth of COVID-19. If this thing can help, why not?” Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso told reporters.
Oplan Kalinga—specifically the part where health officials and policemen will supposedly go house-to-house in search for mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases — has been criticized for allegedly being prone to abuse.
But Interior Secretary Eduardo Año defended the program, saying it will prevent the spread of the coronavirus in communities.
“Most people are under home quarantine, but this is still the source of community transmission, because home quarantines aren’t being implemented properly,” Año said.
He also clarified that health officials will lead the operations, noting that police personnel would only assist local government officials and health personnel in the search.
Meanwhile, Ano stressed that those authorized to be on home quarantine must meet three requirements: have their own room, own bathroom, and have no vulnerable persons in the house.
Vulnerable persons refer to senior citizens and the elderly or those with co-morbidity or have existing diseases, he said.
“If just one of the three questions is answered by a ‘no,’ that person should really be in an isolation facility,” Ano said.