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DILG calls for activation of local health response team



MANILA – As the Philippines recorded its first local transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año called on barangay officials to activate their respective barangay health emergency response teams (BHERTs) that would help monitor and contain the disease at the local level.

Año said a lockdown of areas with known cases of Covid-19 is not recommended for now but active surveillance at the community level is necessary.

“Hindi natin nire-recommend 'yung lockdown kasi darating lang tayo sa ganyang cases kapag naging tuluy-tuloy 'yung local transmission sa isang community (We don't recommend a lockdown because that is usually done when cases of local transmission become continuous in a community)," he said.

In February, the DILG ordered barangays to form BHERTs to address the Covid-19 outbreak.

"Ang importante sa ngayon 'yung tinatawag nating active surveillance sa mga tao na ito at sana rin 'yung mga family members, community volunteer the information para makaresponde 'yung ating LGUs especially 'yung BHERTs na tinatawag natin (The important thing to do now is active surveillance from the public, including family members, community volunteers so that local government units, especially BHERTs, can respond),” he added.

Año urged barangay officials to activate the BHERTs composed of an executive officer, a barangay tanod, and two barangay health workers.

Some of the team's responsibilities include monitoring through home visitation of arriving passengers from a coronavirus-infected country within the locality and ensuring that all residents are accounted for.

Amid the disease's continuing threat, Año urged the public not to panic as he assured that the government is prepared to contain it.

“Huwag tayo matakot dito sa coronavirus kasi kaya naman natin mapaghandaan. Ang importante dito 'yung personal hygiene. Tapos 'yung facial masks, kung meron kang nararamdaman, magsuot ka ng maskara at kung merong umuubo dyan kailangan meron ka na rin talagang mask. Huwag tayo magpadala sa takot (Let us not fear because we are prepared for this. What's important is personal hygiene and use of masks when you are sick)," he said in a radio interview Monday.