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Health workers from other regions to aid NCR amid surge in COVID-19 cases

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Health workers from other regions in the country will be deployed in Metro Manila to help the fatigued health care personnel amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday

Vergeire made the announcement less than a day after President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and other highly urbanized areas under stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to 18.

“Kailangan natin gumawa ng substitution team para makapagpahinga ang mga kapatid natin na health workers sa NCR. Kausap po namin ang aming regional offices, at may darating na health workers [from other regions] dito sa NCR para tumulong,” Vergeire said.

“Mag-aanunsiyo rin po kami ng programa para sa private sector health workers po natin,” she added.

National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal will be under the MECQ —a protocol that bans mass transport and non-essential work—for 15 days.

This was after over 1,000 medical frontliners asked for Metro Manila to return to ECQ for two weeks to give them time to rest and "recalibrate strategies" as COVID-19 cases breach 103,000.

Vergeire said the Health department will also meet with groups of health workers within the day for the fine print of deployment of health personnel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, for his part, said that public hospitals have already been tasked to increase their COVID-19 bed capacity by 30% to 40% in case there will be further surge in cases.

Likewise, Vega said that COVID-19 facilities in East Avenue Medical Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Quezon Institute, and Lung Center of the Philippines are expected to be available by the third week of August.

“Ito ang mga hakbang namin para ma-strengthen ang capacity this MECQ. It’s an opportunity and window to be able to be prepared for any eventuality,” Vega said in the same briefing.

Given the situation, Vergeire urged the public to be part of the solution by observing minimum health standards such as social distancing, washing of hands, and wearing of face masks.

“Let us adopt and partner with our barangays, sila dapat ang ating maging ground zero sa ginagawa natin,” Vergeire said.

“All hands on deck po. Nandito ang gobyerno para tulungan ang ating mga local officials,” Vergeire added.—AOL, GMA News

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