152 doctors, 63 nurses with coronavirus in PH – DOH

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, April 8, that  252 health workers have been infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines.

This number includes 152 doctors and 63 nurses, the DOH said.

In a press briefing, Dr Beverly Ho, special assistant to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, also confirmed the death of "12 health workers due to COVID-19" but did not give any details.

This was the first time that the health department released data on health workers who contracted the virus. 

On March 26, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) said 9 doctors died at the front lines of the war against COVID-19. On April 8, or nearly two weeks later, that number nearly doubled to 17, according to a CNN Philippines report.

Members of the medical industry as well as health experts have long complained of the lack of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to help shield them from the new virus.

The shortage of PPEs and other protective gear had prompted volunteers and groups to donate improvised PPEs to medical frontliners. The DOH earlier announced it had 1 million sets of PPEs to be distributed to hospitals all over the country. 

Nearly 3 months after the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, the DOH said on Tuesday, April 7, that it was releasing guidelines on the proper use of PPEs for the public, especially the health workers. A day earlier, the government’s coronavirus task force announced that local garment factories will start producing 10,000 PPEs after Holy Week or on April 13.

The DOH also said on Wednesday that it was including health workers in its new testing protocol for COVID-19. The new guidelines on testing was expected to be released on Wednesday.

In the DOH testing protocol released on March 16, only patients with severe symptoms of the disease, the elderly, and pregnant women would be prioritized for testing, but it was observed that government officials who did not fit the criteria  got tested anyway. 
(READ: When should you get tested for coronavirus?)

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has 3,870 coronavirus cases, with 182 deaths and 96 recoveries. Globally, the new virus has infected more than 1.4 million people, with over 82,000 deaths and 300,000 recoveries. – Rappler.com




Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.