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Pasig, Valenzuela team up for contact tracing

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Pasig City and Valenzuela City have joined forces to expand the use of digital contact tracing to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto and Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian on Friday entered an interconnectivity agreement aimed at streamlining interconnected digitized contact tracing solutions within their areas.

They virtually signed the Interconnectivity Agreement for PasigPass and ValTrace app — contact tracing solutions.

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The data-sharing agreement allows the use of quick response (QR) codes in Pasig and Valenzuela to expand the monitoring and contact tracing of Covid-19 patients.

Under the agreement, the Valenzuela contract tracing application (Valtrace app) can now be used in Pasig city, while the PasigPass QR code solution can also be used in Valenzuela city, beginning Dec. 7.

Sotto said the agreement could help improve the contact tracing.

The Valtrace app and the PasigPass discouraged the practice of manually filling out health declaration or contact tracing forms.

"With manual forms, not only is it more tedious, but the data collected is not secure and also not really actionable. An establishment wouldn't really know if a customer is close contact, or eventually tests positive," Sotto said in a Viber message.

He assured the security of data collected using digital contact tracing solutions.

"With our digital contact tracing solution, with data securely sent to CESU (City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit), this becomes automatic and contact tracing becomes much smoother. If a close contact enters a store, we will know immediately. If a customer eventually tests positive, we will be able to generate a list of people he/she has come into contact with," Sotto said.

Meanwhile, Gatchalian said the integration of the two digitized contact tracing solutions will ensure more efficient, safe, and convenient measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gatchalian also assured the residents of Pasig and Valenzuela that the contact tracing solutions have a safety net and adequate safeguards which are covered by the data-sharing agreement under Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

"Confidentiality of data will be strictly observed and sensitive information is covered by the agreement," he said.

Through the agreement and using the ValTrace and PasigPass QR codes system, the Pasig government can notify Valenzuela City’s CESU if a certain Valenzuela resident had recent contact with a Covid-19 patient in Pasig City.

The Valenzuela City can alert the Pasig City’s CESU if its residents had possible contacts with Covid-19 patients within Valenzuela City.

The Valenzuela City government said the integrated contact tracing scheme of the two cities will not only provide convenience to more Valenzuelanos and Pasigueños, but it also allows the local governments to further control the Covid-19 transmission.

The Valtrace app and the PasigPass prohibit business establishments to collect health information through manually filling contact tracing forms.

Valenzuela and Pasig residents can acquire QR codes via the Valtrace app and the PasigPass for free.

Various business establishments, including malls and department stores in both cities, have already started implementing the "no QR code, no entry" policy.

As of Dec. 1, Pasig has recorded 699,938 individuals and 1,754 business establishments registered in the PasigPass contact tracing solution.

Valenzuela, meanwhile, has recorded 684,058 residents, 320,511 non-residents, and 19,754 establishments registered in the Valtrace app, as of Dec. 2.


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