The Duterte administration has spelled out measures to be carried out in case the country experiences an outbreak of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV), which continues to spread around the world.
In a media briefing in Malacanang Monday night, President Duterte said among the measures to be undertaken by the government is the creation of regional facilities that could house patients affected by the coronavirus.
“But if it comes to the fore requiring the quarantine of persons, either local or foreigners, I have directed Secretary Duque here to prepare a space, a ward in our hospitals or a separate room — building, room — where we can house them,” the President told reporters.
The government could expropriate privately owned facilities for the purpose of converting them into hospitals in case of an outbreak, according to the President.
In times of emergencies, the government can confiscate such structures to make room for hospitals and equip them with medical facilities and personnel.
The government could also use the drug rehabilitation facility at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija donated by a Chinese philanthropist to accommodate patients needing quarantine and treatment, the President said.
“Nandiyan sa Fort Magsaysay. That building is inside a national government reservation. Maluwang ‘yan. So marami akong ilagay diyan kung ang contagion actually… It’s epidemic if it is just regional or local or national,” he said.
During a briefing with top government officials and health experts in Malacanang, the President said he wants local government units (LGUs), particularly barangays captains, to become frontliners in the government’s fight against the disease.
President Duterte said the LGUs and the barangays must work with health officials in reporting and transporting individuals suspected to be infected by the novel coronavirus.
The President also appealed to private hospitals to help the government fight the scourge by accommodating patients seeking treatment after hearing reports that some private facilities refuse to accept patients manifesting symptoms of the virus.
Health officials were also mandated by the President to conduct an inventory of vehicles at the DOH’s regional offices to be used in transporting infected persons.
He vowed to allocate money for the DOH to help it buy new vehicles that will only cater to coronavirus infections. PND