San Fernando, Pampanga -- The government now has 10 new standby medical facilities for COVID-19 patients in Central Luzon, in the event cases will surge in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Aside from the New Clark City, which is already serving as a quarantine center from Filipinos and foreign nationals coming from abroad, the other new facilities are the Philippine Arena, units in Mexico and Lubao in Pampanga, one in Talavera in Nueva Ecija, one in Zambales, and four more located inside Clark Freeport.
Bobby Manalo, operations officer of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC), said the use of the Philippine Arena was already approved by religious leaders of the Iglesia ni Cristo as their contribution to the government's efforts against the pandemic.
Manalo said these facilities have well ventilated room capacity of about 1,000 beds, with physical distancing accounted for by the national government as the best weapon against the spread of the highly infectious disease.
"The facilities are the extreme measures of government in case coronavirus numbers continue to skyrocket,” Manalo said.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently extended the lockdown of Luzon to April 30 as a means to flatten the curve of the disease.
Manalo said the medical facilities in three provinces have clinics managed by health workers of Department of Health, a community kitchen run by the Department of Social Welfare Development, individual comfort rooms and other features.
The six facilities inside the New Clark City and Philippine Arena have air-conditioned rooms to ensure the health and safety of the health workers and their patients specially people under investigation of the disease, he said.
The additional facilities inside Clark aim to prevent and discourage the use of schools to protect children from infection, if and when classless will resume.
All local government units in Central Luzon are also ordered to produce their own facilities in their respective areas, Manalo said.
In Pampanga, the city of San Fernando was the first to establish medical facilities for COVID-19 patients to prevent the spread of the disease.
Mayor Edwin Santiago said the facility is located at the civic center here, composed of 22 well-ventilated rooms to isolate, treat, and monitor persons under investigation and monitoring.
Santiago said the facilities will serve as quarantine or isolation rooms for patients with symptoms of the highly infectious respiratory disease.
The city government also distributed relief goods, disinfected its 35 barangays, and established mobile markets as measures against the pandemic, which shows no end in sight, he said.
“To overcome this crisis, let us defend ourselves against the elusive enemy with a distance of six feet apart but standing together as one," the mayor said.
The city's COVID-19 patients include 228 people under monitoring, but 176 were discharged after 14 days of quarantine. Another 12 people are under investigation, with seven confirmed cases and one casualty so far.