WITH contact tracing no longer deemed as a priority intervention, the Department of Health (DOH) is now looking at tapping contact tracers for other coronavirus disease (Covid-19) response activities.

In a television interview, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said there are equally important activities that await contact tracers as part of the government's overall pandemic response.

"In areas where there is widespread community transmission, it is impractical to do contact tracing," said Duque.

"The better and the more practical thing to do now is to use the contact tracers for other high impact activities," he added.

The health chief said one activity is to monitor people who are in home isolation/quarantine.

"They can call them and find out how the person is. They can do symptoms monitoring of those in home isolation or quarantine," said Duque.

He also believes that contact tracers may come in a handy in the ongoing vaccination activities.

"They can augment the human resources within vaccination centers," he said.

Duque added that they may also be tapped for health promotion activities.

"They can also help in information education campaign for better compliance to minimum health standards," said Duque.

On Thursday, January 13, the DOH said contact tracing is no longer a priority intervention of the government due to the widespread transmission of Covid-19 in communities.

Duque stressed, however, that contact tracing remains part of the government's overall pandemic response.

"We’re not saying it has become unnecessary. It is still very necessary, especially in low transmission areas, so we can cut the chain of transmission," he said. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)