More quarantine sites eyed; DPWH rushes Rizal sports complex, PICC

SIX additional new large facilities in Metro Manila are now being eyed by the government to also become quarantine facilities for patients infected by the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

During a press briefing on Thursday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles listed these facilities as: the Quezon Institute, University of Life Theater and Recreational Arena or the Ultra, now known as the PhilSports Arena; Duty-Free Philippine-Parañaque, Amoranto Stadium, Quezon Memorial Circle Complex and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center Complex.

“These will serve as addition to the facilities, which we already identified as possible quarantine and isolation facilities. Some of these are already in the process [of being converted into such facilities],” Nograles said.

Partial operations
The government earlier announced that Philippine International Convention Center, World Trade Center and Rizal Memorial Sports Complex are now in the process of being converted by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and its partner organization as quarantine facilities.

Nograles said the quarantine facilities—expected to accommodate 1,950 individuals—will become fully operational by the third week of April, just after the expected lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

“As soon as the partial completion [of the three structures] is done, we could already use the sections, which are already done,” Nograles said.

He earlier said the final decision whether to partially lift, fully lift, extend the duration, or expand the coverage of the ECQ will depend on the technical working group of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) headed by the Department of Health (DOH).

Isolated patients
Nograles earlier explained that Covid-19 patients who have severe and moderate symptoms will be prioritized in hospitals, while those with mild symptoms will be housed in areas where they could be grouped while still maintaining social distancing.

Aside from large quarantine facilities, the government is also considering converting ships and hotels into quarantine facilities.

Nograles said these are part of government efforts to isolate Covid-infected patients so they could no longer spread the illness and be properly managed.

“We are trying to isolate…separate the population of PUIs [persons under investigation], PUMs [persons under monitoring], and those positive for Covid-19 so we could identify the ‘negative’ communities,” Nograles said.

“Then, after there is no longer local transmission of Covid-19, then they [negative communities] could slowly proceed to the new normal,” he added.

The IATF spokesperson said this in preparation for the “new normal” being considered by the IATF, wherein some business operations will be allowed to resume, but on condition that social-distancing measures will still be observed.

Date: April 3, 2020 | Newspaper: Business Mirror | Source: