The Philippine government on Wednesday tried to allay fears that people infected with the coronavirus would be dragged out of their homes by police officers checking on patients in domestic quarantine.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government’s plan to visit COVID-19 patients in home quarantine was part of efforts to boost contact tracing to help contain the spread of the virus.
“We find it unfortunate that critics and detractors of the administration are using the important strategy of contact tracing to vilify the current government.
“Health workers will lead the voluntary “transfer of Covid-positive patients from their homes to government quarantine facilities,’’ Roque said.
He added Police would provide assistance in the transport of patients and the implementation of localized lockdowns.
Concerns had arisen following a statement by the Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano on Tuesday, who said that “with the help of the local government units, the police will go house to house and we will take the patients to Covid isolation facilities.”
“The Department of Health on Wednesday reported 1,392 additional cases of coronavirus infections, bringing the national tally to 58,850. “The death toll rose to 1,614 with 11 additional mortalities,’’ it added.
Human rights advocates warned the government’s plan could lead to “tokhang-style” violations, referring to the arbitrary and violent arrests as well as alleged extrajudicial killings committed under the administration’s war on illegal drugs. (dpa/NAN)