Navotas provides free shelter for city's medical frontliners

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Navotas has turned a building of a vocational training program into a housing facility for its medical fronliners battling the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Annex II of the Navotas Vocational Training and Assessment (NAVOTAAS) Institute will temporarily house doctors, nurses, and staff who work at the Navotas City Hospital but live outside the city, according to a statement. 

A room for doctors will have 5 queen-sized beds, while there will be "spa beds and inflatable beds" in quarters for nurses and hospital administrative staff. 

Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco said the local government "hopes to ease their burden by providing them an accessible and comfortable place to rest and regain their strength" amid the outbreak. 

"We are grateful for the sacrifices of our health workers," he said. "They are putting their lives at stake as they continue to serve Navoteños and keep up the fight against COVID-19." 

As of Sunday, March 29, there are 119 persons under monitoring and 26 patients under investigation (PUI) in the city who are either under quarantine or admitted to the Navotas City Hospital. The city also reported 5 PUI deaths, one of whom later tested positive, one tested negative, while 3 are still awaiting results.  

"I call on all Navoteños: Let us help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Stay home," Tiangco said. "This is the least we can do to help those in the frontlines."

Navotas is the latest local government unit to provide accommodations to its frontliners. 

On March 26, Quezon City announced it is teaming up with the private sector to give health workers free lodging, following reports of staff shunned by their own landlords for the risks that come with their jobs.

The Office of Vice President Leni Robredo and its partners, meanwhile, opened dormitories for frontliners in Quezon City. 

These efforts are among the latest actions by national and local governments to alleviate the situation of health workers who have been on the front lines since the outbreak began.  

As of Sunday, the Philippines have 1,418 confirmed cases of the virus, with 71 deaths and 42 recoveries. 

President Rodrigo Duterte this month placed the Philippines under a state of public health emergency and a state of calamity. He also ordered an "enhanced community quarantine" or lockdown on Metro Manila and Luzon, supposedly lasting until April 14 and April 12, respectively. –