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How the Philippines is combating the rapid spread of COVID-19

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Philippines, what are the measures that local and national government put in place to contain the virus?

According to a report in Pinoy MD, virus-hit cities like Pasig and Quezon City have taken to disinfecting public schools using unmanned firefighting machines.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said that this was a measure they used to do once a month to combat dengue. Now, they're loading the machines with an anti-viral mix of chemicals twice a week.

"Dahil may threat ng COVID-19, nag-step up tayo. 'Yung dating once a month, ngayon twice a week na natin gagawin. Iyong mga ginagamit natin pang-misting for dengue, ngayon kinargahan natin siya ng mga disinfectang with anti-viral qualities," he said.

A smaller spray is used to disinfect each classroom. Sotto said that they're disinfecting the public elementary and high schools in the city, and that they could do the same with private schools if they request it.

The local government is also aiding in contact tracing, to make sure that those who tested positive did not contract the virus.

The same measures are being put in place in Quezon City.

According to Karl Michael Marasigan, head of the QC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, they've taken advantage of the class suspensions to disinfect the schools to prevent transmission among students.

The Metro Rail Transit (MRT) trains are also being disinfected daily.

Passengers have taken to wearing masks and carrying sanitizers and alcohol with them.

Dr. Arthur Dessi Roman, Medical Specialist III in RITM, also said that the Department of Health (DOH) has deployed several teams to look into the COVID-19-positive patients.

"They try to investigate kung sino sino ba talaga ang at risk, kung sino ang may significant close contact doon sa mga identified cases," he said.

Meanwhile, the test kits developed by the University of the Philippines have been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

They will be ready for use by March 16.

The Philippines on Saturday recorded 34 new cases of the coronavirus disease 2019, bringing the total number to 98. So far, there have been eight confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the country.

The country is currently under Code Red Sub-Level 2 due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections, and President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila will be in "community quarantine."

Land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be suspended from March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020, subject to daily review of the government.

The Philippines will also ban foreign nationals from countries with localized COVID-19 transmissions, except diplomats and permanent residents.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also plans to impose a curfew in the National Capital Region as part of said community quarantine measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

—JCB, GMA News