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Ex-DOH secretaries urge hospital exclusively for COVID-19 patients


Former health secretaries on Thursday urged the government to designate a hospital exclusively for patients infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to contain the spread of the illness.

Iloilo Representative Janette Garin, who was health secretary when the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) broke out in 2015, said the Lung Center of the Philippines can be used for this purpose.

“Ibig sabihin, ‘yang ospital na ‘yan, ang ginagamot niya, ang inaasikaso niya, COVID-19 patients lang. ‘Yung personnel na naka-assign doon, tutok lang sila doon, hindi sila gagalaw ng ibang pasyente para ‘di makapanghawa,” she explained.

Garin also urged the flu vaccination of senior citizens since they are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, according to a 24 Oras report by Maki Pulido on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Manuel Dayrit, who served as health secretary during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, said the government and the private sector need to come together to combat the disease.

“Mabigat na mabigat ang problema ngayon. Kailangan ng gobyerno, hindi lang ang mga resources nila, pero ‘yung resources na rin ng pribadong sektor,” he said.

Dayrit also agreed that the government must designate a hospital exclusively for COVID-19 patients.

Only the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac is the designated quarantine facility in the country at present.

Positive COVID-19 cases are spread out among various hospitals across the country but are concentrated in Metro Manila.

The Philippines has 52 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday afternoon. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News