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.
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.
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