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US provides P139-M COVID-19 response aid to Philippines

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The United States on Tuesday said it is providing P139 million or $2.7 million to the Philippines to support its COVID-19 response operations.

"U.S. assistance will strengthen specimen transport systems and laboratory capacity to accurately and rapidly detect cases," the US Embassy said in a statement.

The aid will also help protect health workers and patients by ensuring that hygiene products, masks, waste management supplies, and other necessary commodities are available, delivered, and managed appropriately, it added.

"The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will collaborate with Philippine government counterparts to establish and implement internationally-recognized infectious disease threat prevention and response strategies, and enhance infection control," the embassy said.

The funding is also aimed at expanding communities' disease preparedness and access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services and commodities.

Philippine Health officials on Tuesday announced that the country now has a sustained community transmission of the coronavirus disease, which was first reported in China.

The Department of Health reported 142 cases and 12 deaths.

With the spike in the number of infections, the Philippine government on Monday announced an enhanced quarantine for Luzon, restricting domestic and inbound and outbound travel, suspending public transport, enforcing stricter border patrols, shutting down schools, and barring mass gatherings while urging people to stay home. --KBK, GMA News

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