By Teddy Cambosa

The Department of Health (DOH), together with the rest of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) in the Philippines, shall continue its efforts to further address the high hospital occupancy rates in Metro Manila.

Republic of the Philippines

Over the next 2 weeks, the DOH and NTF will continue to monitor and work with the Local Government Units (LGUs) to reach specific targets in order to address the two main pressing issues: increasing cases and hospital occupancies.

According to Contact Tracing Czar Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, they will further support contact tracing efforts through supplementation of around 27,672 contact tracers in the NCR+ bubble, and by putting in place an automatic contact tracing system using text messaging (SMS). Pilot testing of the said initiative is scheduled this week beginning with Pasig City, and expected to be rolled out to other cities over the following days.

Meanwhile, Treatment Czar USec. Leopoldo Vega and the One Hospital Command Center, announced that they will continue to facilitate the expansion  of L1-L3 hospitals in the greater Metro Manila Area by further augmenting medical personnel who will be coming from the DOH, AFP, and PNP, among others. To date, a total of 136 healthcare workers (HCWs) from Visayas and Mindanao have been deployed by DOH to different facilities in Metro Manila.

“The next few weeks will be crucial—with the actions that we initiated when we went into ECQ, we aim to institutionalize sustainable and long-term response strategies which we expect will help ensure that we will no longer need to return to ECQ in the future. We have a big task ahead of us, but we are confident that with the help of our line agencies, our LGUs, and our private sector partners, we can successfully establish a sustainable pandemic response,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

Meanwhile, NTF Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez commented, “The government is utilizing a whole-of-nation, whole-of-society approach wherein all sectors of society must come together and work hand-in-hand in order to address the many challenges brought about by this pandemic.”

He added, “Under this collaborative effort, the national government, in partnership with local government units and the private sector, is scaling up the nation’s Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treatment-Recovery (PDITR) Strategy by establishing more testing laboratories, swabbing centers, and TTMFs across the country, as well as by fast tracking the implementation of the national vaccine program wherein the inoculation of priority sectors AI, A2 and A3 are now being conducted simultaneously.”