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PICC, WTC, Rizal Memorial Coliseum to be converted into COVID-19 facilities in 10 days -DPWH's Villar

The conversion of Philippine International Convention Center Forum Halls, the World Trade Center in Pasay, and the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila into  coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment and monitoring facilities is expected to be completed in 10 days.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said Wednesday he ordered the completion of the conversion of the three health facilities in a period of 10 days.

“The PICC Forum Halls, the WTC in Pasay, and the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila will soon be converted into a much-needed facility for the treatment and health monitoring of COVID-19 patients as well as Patients-Under-Investigation (PUIs) and Patients-Under-Monitoring (PUMs),” Villar said in a press statement.

“One of the facilities is expected to be completed within the week,” he added.

The DPWH secretary said the conversion is undertaken to control the spread and take out the PUIs and the PUMs out of the communities.

“As most of health facilities in Metro Manila have reached or nearing maximum capacity, the immediate conversion of PICC Forum Halls will significantly provide an optimal isolation space for monitoring of people infected by COVID-19 virus. We want to decongest the hospitals,” he said.

DPWH, EEI, and Villar Group of Companies will undertake the conversion of the PICC Forum Halls which is a multi-purpose venue with usable area of about  4,000 square meters.

“DPWH, EEI, and Villar Group of Companies is working to accomplish the redesigning and conversion of Forum Halls 1 to 3 into COVID facility within two weeks period,” Villar said.

The PICC health facility is estimated to cater to 630 COVID-19 patients.

Once conversion of Forum Halls is fully completed, the operation of PICC’s temporary health facility for treatment and monitoring of patients experiencing mild respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, colds, etc.) shall be under the supervision of the DOH.

The World Trade Center and Rizal Memorial Coliseum will also be converted as health facilities with the support of private companies.

The Ayala Development Corporation and Makati Development Corporation committed to undertake development of World Trade Center while the Razon Group will handle the PSC-operated Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, specifically the Ninoy Aquino Basketball Stadium, into added health facility for COVID infection control. 

As  directed by the National Task Force Covid-19, the DPWH will accredit construction workers who will work on the three facilities identified for purposes of quarantine or isolation. Such accredited workers shall be provided with quarantine pass to be exempted from the government’s strict home quarantine policy.

Interviewed over Dobol B sa News TV, Villar said the three venues initially could provide space for more or less 936 patients. Of this number, 530 patients can be welcomed to the WTC, he added.

Villar said the Rizal Memorial Coliseum may be used starting this week.

Aside from the three facilities, more venues are being eyed to use as a center for suspected cases of COVID-19 which include Ultra or PhilSports Complex and the open grounds of Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Villar noted that there were 29 evacuation centers nationwide that were being used as medical facilities for COVID-19. — with Jovilan Rita/AOL/RSJ, GMA News