Health advocacy groups oppose mandatory facility-based isolation

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    HEALTH advocacy groups yesterday expressed opposition to the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to make facility-based isolation mandatory for confirmed asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

    In a joint virtual press conference, civil society groups and health advocates said they are against the IATF decision because it can lead to an unintended behavior from the public.

    “Requiring facility-based isolation, even for COVID-19 patients with the capacity to home-isolate, can lead to their refusal to disclose their symptoms and be tested in order to avoid isolation in government facilities,” a satement read during the press conference said.

    They said such behavior will adversely affect the COVID-19 response of the government.

    “A policy that encourages hiding information prevents the government from finding and monitoring COVID-19 cases,” it added.

    The groups said requiring patients with the capacity to home isolate to be admitted in state facilities will only strain government resources.

    “It will congest existing facilities, taking away available beds from those whose homes do not meet the conditions required for home isolation,” they said.

    They said that priority in isolation facilities must be given to those who have no capabilities to be isolated from their families within their homes.

    “Given its limited resources, government should adopt a cost-effective approach by having the facility-based isolation serve the underprivileged with no capacity to home isolate,” said the groups.

    Among the 30 signatories in the Unity Statement are COVID-19 Action Network, Action for Economic Reforms, Healthy Philippines Alliance, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), and Aktibong Kilusan Tungo sa Iisang Bayan (AKTIB).