Gov’t to use digitized passenger arrival cards for coronavirus monitoring, tracing

May 19 ------ The government intends to use digitized passenger arrival cards to effectively monitor and trace persons who may be exposed to coronavirus cases, President Duterte said Monday (May 18). The President said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has forged an agreement with airline companies on the new passenger forms prior to the arrival of flights in the country. “For better monitoring and real-time contact tracing, the BI and airline companies have agreed to use digitized passenger arrival cards/forms integrated in the BI’s system prior to [the] arrival of flights in the country, as well as the implementation of the Advance Passengers Information System,” Duterte said in his weekly report to Congress on the coronavirus response. “The BI has been providing the DOH (Department of Health) pertinent information of suspected cases such as travel history and related records to assist the BOQ (Bureau of Quarantine) and the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) in their contact tracing measures,” he said. The President recognized that contact tracing remains one of the most vital public health responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The government has traced 60,586 close contracts as of May 14, from 24,315 contacts traced from May 3. To strengthen the contract tracing efforts, Duterte said the health department has deployed 128 health workers to collect and encode the case data of 58 hospitals. The DOH has also retained the deployed off-site and on-site technical point persons for all regional epidemiology and surveillance units and all national capital city epidemiology and surveillance units. “Currently, 25 subnational laboratories are using the COVID-19 Information System to provide laboratory data to the Epidemiology Bureau,” Duterte said. He said 603 participants from regional inter-agency task forces underwent training last week on the use of FASSSTER, a web-based disease surveillance platform. In Region X, he said the FASSSTER platform data, information, and analytics are already being used by the Northern Mindanao Regional Task Force/Regional Inter-Agency Task Force in their situational analysis presentations on the coronavirus. Source: