Week 3 of lockdown: No national quarantine centers yet
MANILA, Philippines – As the Luzon-wide lockdown enters its 3rd week, the government's plan to convert various facilities in and outside Metro Manila into quarantine centers has yet to roll out.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday, March 31, said the government’s coronavirus task force has ordered several government agencies to expedite the identification of quarantine facilities.
Nograles said the order covered the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Tourism (DOT), and local government units (LGUs).
The Department of Health also earlier said it was eyeing the Quezon Institute and the Philippine Red Cross as possible "community quarantine facilities." But nothing so far has come out of it.
What to expect: Nograles said the DOTr was tasked to coordinate with the health department and find ships that can serve as floating quarantine centers.
The DOT, meanwhile, was ordered to finalize and identify hotels and other similar establishments in all 17 regions of the country, which could house suspected and mild coronavirus cases. Such facilities, Nograles said, will be assessed by the Bureau of Quarantine to ensure it could properly house patients.
The DPWH, along with private entities, was In charge of converting conventions centers and sports stadiums such as the Philippine International Convention Center, World Trade Center, and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex into “fully-functional quarantine facilities.”
The same goes for LGUs, which were ordered to identify and equip facilties that can become designated quarantine facilities, following the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s guidelines.
How will it work? Nograles said workers from the health department’s health development centers, the DILG’s regional offices, and uniformed personnel will form “composite teams” or personnel of the quarantine facilities.
The quarantine centers will be operated by the national and local government, he added.
The National Task Force on COVID-19 will likewise classify isolation centers into those for persons under monitoring, patients under investigation, and those with mild coronavirus cases.
Why this matters. The move is seen to ease the burden on hospitals, which have become overwhelmed by the growing number of coronavirus patients, suspected cases, and people wanting to be tested for the virus.
By decongesting hospitals of mild and suspected cases, medical workers are able to focus resources on severe cases which were in need of more specialized care.
Health officials on Monday, March 30, counted 920 patients under investigation and over 6,000 persons under monitoring. As of Monday, the Philippines recorded 1,546 coronavirus cases, including 78 deaths and 42 recoveries. – Rappler.com