Gov’t hospitals stepping in as private hospitals declare full capacity – Sec. Duque

Marje Pelayo   •   March 25, 2020   •   320

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines – All four major private hospitals in Metro Manila have exceeded their capacity with the recent surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

These hospitals – The Medical City in Pasig City; the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City and Taguig City; and the Makati Medical Center – have issued their respective advisories saying their workforce have also been overstretched.

Unless they move some of their patients to other hospitals, their healthcare system would break down as some of their health workers are under self-quarantine.

In an interview with Daniel Razon on Wednesday (March 14), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that they have designated a number of public hospitals as augmentation facilities to accommodate more patients.

Meanwhile, three referral facilities for COVID-19 patients are set to open this week.

These include the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City; the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and Sanitarium (DJNRMH) in Caloocan City; and the University of the Philippines (UP) Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

Duque said there are still 62 rooms available at DJNRMH; 130 hospital beds at the UP-PGH; and about 40 rooms in the Lung Center though rooms in the hospital are easily occupied.

Iyong ating mga public hospitals marami pa tayo, (There are a number of rooms still available in public hospitals),” he assured.

Pero siyempre minsan napupuno din itong Lung Center kaya pinalalawig pa rin natin ang mga ibang hospital. In fact, dagdagan ang mga kuwarto at kama para sa mga COVID patients,” he added.

(But of course, Lung Center also gets full so we are still asking augmentation from other hospitals. In fact, we will add rooms and beds for COVID patients.)

Meanwhile, despite the arrivals of donated COVID-19 test kits in the country, the DOH said the number is still not enough to launch a mass testing in the Philippines.

Hindi pa rin po natin kakayanin iyan dahil nga mayroon tayong tinatawag na global shortage ng mga testing kits. Buti na lang nabibigyan tayo ng donation ng goberyno ng China, ng Singapore at South Korea,” the Health Chief said.

(We are still incapable of conducting [mass testing] because there is a global shortage of testing kits. Good thing we received donations from China, Singapore and South Korea.)

Secretary Duque noted, however, that they are considering the procurement of new test kits duly approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the government’s economic cluster’s approval of the P240M budget for that matter. – MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

PNP to implement 50-50 work scheme due to COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 6, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will implement a 50-50 work scheme among personnel who are based at the national headquarters in Camp Crame.

This is due to the rising number of PNP personnel who have become patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.

The 50-50 work scheme would use 50 percent or the first batch of personnel to go on duty at the administrative office until April 19 while the second batch will go on duty from April 20 to May 3.

According to a memorandum issued on April 4, the heads of offices/units with essential functions shall determine the work scheme applicable to the personnel, as long as they should observe a 14-day self-quarantine/isolation as part of the PNP’s health protocol.

“Maaaring magpatupad sila ng kani-kanilang scheduling para hindi naman maapektuhan ang ating normal functions,” said PNP Spokesperson Bernard Banac.

Meanwhile, police personnel who are aged 45 years old and above will have to be pulled out from the checkpoint areas.

“Mas vulnerable sila sa COVID-19 (They are more vulnerable to COVID-19),” Banac said.

The PNP will also launch Admin Support to COVID-19 Task Force (ASCoTF) to ensure an organized and speedy logistics, response, and development of frontliners.

The PNP has already recorded 19 police personnel that tested positive for COVID-19 with two deaths.

The total number of persons under monitoring (PUMs) in the PNP has already reached more than 1,300. — AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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UK PM Johnson admitted to hospital as Britain enters third week of lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital in London on Monday (April 6) suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, but Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.

Johnson, 55, had been isolating in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus last month, was taken to hospital on Sunday night because he still had a high temperature and his doctors felt he needed additional tests.

Meanwhile, Britain entered its third week in lockdown with authorities warning they will have to impose further restrictions on outdoor exercise if people continued to flout rules designed to curb transmission of the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “unbelievable” to see a small minority flouting the government’s advice to maintain social-distancing.

Hancock said if people did not follow the rules, which allow people to walk, run or cycle outdoors once a day but not sunbathe, he would have to ban exercise of all forms outside the home.

He said the timetable to ease restrictions – the lockdown exit strategy – could only be agreed once the spread of the coronavirus had been brought under control.

Other European countries such as Italy and France have imposed tougher restrictions on people leaving their homes. (REUTERS CONNECT)

(Production: Gerhard Mey, Ben Makori.)

Frontline health workers to receive Special Risk Allowance

Marje Pelayo   •   April 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Frontline health workers will now receive an extra financial aid from the government as additional compensation for their service in the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

President Rodrigo Duterte, through Administrative Order Number 28, directed all government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations and the local government units (LGUs) to provide public health workers with one-time COVID-19 Special Risk Allowance equivalent to 25% of their basic salary.

Those qualified for the said benefit include public health workers who are in active service under the enhanced community quarantine – regular, contractual, casual or part-time health workers; those under contract of service or job order arrangement like barangay health workers who are assigned in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

The one-time special risk allowance will be prorated based on the number of days a health worker has served starting March 17, 2020. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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