Local Roundup: Virus hot spots: Canteens, hubs

  • Virus hot spots: Canteens, hubs
  • Bed policy
Canteens, smoking areas, and other “spots of convergence” in workplaces were found to be sources of “great contamination” for COVID-19, Task Force Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Thursday.

Workplaces, particularly in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal, were also guilty of a “great violation” of minimum health standards such as physical distancing, the chief implementer of the country’s pandemic response strategy said.

“We saw that the most critical areas right now are the workplace, in what we call economic hubs,” Galvez said during the launch of the One Hospital Command in Makati City.

“We have these kinds of (coronavirus case) spikes and we saw that mass transport and common areas where our workers eat are very vulnerable,” he added.

Hospitals told to comply with bed allocation policy

Few hospitals have been able to comply on the requirement to allocate a certain percentage of their beds to COVID-19 patients, the Department of Health said on Thursday.

Cases in Metro Manila and nearby provinces continue to surge, leaving many hospitals with fully-occupied COVID wards.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said when the DOH first directed private and public hospitals in July to allocate 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of their beds for COVID-19 patients, only 8 percent of private hospitals and 16 to 17 percent of public hospitals complied.

“They have gradually increased this. Private (hospitals) in the last week of July, 18 percent of them met the required allocation. At least 20 to 22 percent of public (hospitals) also came up with the allocation,” Vega said.

“It’s not easy to convert wards into COVID wards. It’s not just the placement of beds,” he added.

No allocation for cash aid

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Thursday said the government has not allocated funds for cash aid for those affected by the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.

“It was not anticipated and it’s not in the budget,” Dominguez said.

“We will check if we can put it in the Bayanihan 2 law,” he added. The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading its version of the Bayanihan 2 Law which seeks to roll out P162 billion worth of response interventions to help the country recover the pandemic, including the grant of a P5,000 to P8,000 subsidy to affected families in the informal sector.

‘One Hospital Command’ system

The second phase of the government’s national action plan is aimed at reducing the mortality rate among coronavirus patients through establishing the “One Hospital Command” system, Galvez said.

“This system will maximize the use of our temporary treatment and our monitoring facilities which have been built specifically for mild and asymptomatic cases,” he said.

Through this system, he said, the waiting time for coronavirus patients to be admitted in the hospitals for treatment “will significantly be reduced.”

New protocol for workplaces

The departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Health (DOH) will issue a new health protocol in workplaces to strengthen the minimum health standards in business establishments.

In a television interview Thursday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said establishments will be required to assign a health officer, whether a security officer, nurse, or doctor, who will monitor that minimum health protocols are being implemented.

Establishments will also be required to prepare an isolation room for employees who tested positive of COVID-19, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, and those with symptoms within the workplace.

PAL international flights

Legacy carrier Philippine Airlines on Thursday announced it will continue operating international flights to serve air travelers to and from Manila even during the MECQ period.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said they are currently operating 40 flights weekly from Manila, preserving the only remaining nonstop routes between the Philippines and the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Vietnam.

She said for North America, PAL maintains flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Honolulu, Vancouver and Toronto, as well as to Guam.

The airline’s Japan network serves Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Tokyo via both Narita and Haneda airports, and includes a bi-weekly service from Cebu to Tokyo Narita.

PAL also offered regular flights to the Middle East (Dubai, Riyadh, Doha and Dammam) as well as to London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Sydney and Bangkok are served occasionally, although limited under ongoing travel restrictions or quarantine facility limitations.

Topics: COVID-19 , Carlito Galvez Jr. , Department of Health , Ramon Lopez
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