MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday, March 17, launched emergency hotlines 02-894-COVID (02-894-26843) and 1555 for people who suspect they are infected with COVID-19
The DOH said the public can ask questions about the disease caused by the novel coronavirus or request assistance if they are experiencing symptoms.
“As we enhance our efforts to contain this disease, we are working with both the public and private sectors, which can provide the facilities and the technical expertise to address the many challenges that we face each day,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.
The hotlines are maintained in partnership with the National Emergency Hotline of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and PLDT Inc and its wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications Incorporated.
Duque, however, asked the public to “allow only relevant and important calls to go through” so they could provide “timely medical assistance to those who really need it.”
Meanwhile, PLDT chairman and and CEO Manuel Pangilinan said their collaboration with the DOH is part of the company’s continuing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“We hope that, with our services, we can help provide much-needed information that will enable health authorities to deliver proper patient diagnosis and treatment and ultimately stop the spread of this disease,” Pangilinan said.
PLDT and Smart subscribers can call the hotlines for free. These are accessible 24/7. Subscribers from other networks can access the 1555 hotline once technical adjustments are made.
As of Tuesday, the DOH confirmed 187 cases of coronavirus in the Philippines. Of this number, 4 have recovered and 14 have died.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared a state of calamity in the Philippines as cases of COVID-19 in the country continued to rise. The entire Luzon is on lockdown from March 17 to April 12. – Rappler.com