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Nurses appeal for government support as COVID-19 cases surge

Some nurses have appealed for more support from the government as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country continue to surge.

The Philippines now has 85,486 confirmed infections as of Wednesday, with more than 56,528 active cases and 1,962 deaths.

According to Sandra Aguinaldo's report on "24 Oras," nurses in COVID-19 wards and Intensive Care Units are struggling to handle the influx of patients.

"Sana dumating na tayo sa punto na tanggapin na natin na it has come to this point na hindi natin siya ma-control and kailangan na nating gumawa ng mas konkretong paraan para ma-solve ang mga issue na ito," said Michael Arnold Bilan, a nurse at Philippine General Hospital, a COVID-19 referral center.

"Sana 'yung mamamayang Pilipino ang unahin ninyo kaysa sa kung anu-ano pang personal na interes," he added.

Bilan is on duty eight hours a day for seven days followed by seven days of rest, but some nurses in other hospitals aren't as fortunate as him. Some do 12 hour shifts, while some have to be on duty for 36 hours.

They endure long hours of wearing goggles and N95 masks, to the point that some of them develop allergic reactions to their protective equipment.

"Sana po bigyan naman nila ng proteksyon at security ang isang nurse," said another nurse. "At sana magdadagdag pa sila ng nurses."

Some nurses are calling for hazard pay, while some are asking for regularization. Others simply want the assurance that they are still safe from the virus while performing their duties.

"'Yung iba hindi namin alam kung secured ba 'yung swab namin," said Mark Simbit, another nurse. "Kailangan naming malaman kung infected na rin kami." —MGP, GMA News