DOH forms working groups from various sectors to augment COVID-19 response strategy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 7) — The Department of Health (DOH) said it has formed working groups that will help in the formulation of COVID-19 response for specific clusters.

Health Undersecretary Lilibeth David said the groups will help in addressing seven key issues raised by medical professionals during their dialogue with them, which include transportation safety, workplace safety, public compliance with self-protection, and re-opening of industries

“We have categorized these in different work streams that will allow us, working alongside with representatives of each, to further put details in our strategies and implement them effectively,” David said.

The undersecretary said a working group that will ensure the welfare of the country’s healthcare workers has been proposed. It will include a surveillance team that will conduct contact tracing in case of infection among health frontliners, she said.

David said another group will ensure safety in workplaces, which will also have a surveillance team to minimize transmission in work areas.

She said the plan of action is currently coordinated with the labor and trade departments, as well as other concerned agencies referred by medical societies to come up with specific workplace guidelines.

The DOH previously said that cases of COVID-19 are observed mostly among healthcare workers, barangays, and workplaces. The surge of cases in the past months led to the implementation of a modified enhanced community quarantine in some areas like Metro Manila until Aug. 18.

As for transportation, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH is coordinating with the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Transportation to revisit the policy on active transport, like bicycles.

He also encouraged the use of such mode of transportation to workers in areas under MECQ given that mass transportation is again limited.