Gov't eyes more quarantine facilities, including Philippine Arena; has 8 COVID-19 testing centers now
The Philippine government is eyeing more quarantine sites, including the Philippine Arena in Bulacan province, for coronavirus disease patients as it has been expanding its testing centers nationwide, officials said.
National Task Force Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., in a virtual press briefing on Thursday night, said at least eight more establishments are being considered to be converted into quarantine and isolation facilities in Luzon.
These include the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Quezon Institute, Philippine Sports Complex (ULTRA), Duty Free Philippines-Parañaque, Amoranto Sports Complex, Quezon City Memorial Complex, Veterans Medical Center Complex, and the Philippine Arena.
Only the Philippine Arena, owned by religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo, is located outside Metro Manila.
"I'm already talking to the members of Iglesia ni Cristo. Hopefully we'll be able to secure the Philippine Area as soon as possible," Galvez said.
The government, in partnership with the private sector, is converting the Rizal Memorial Complex, World Trade Center, and the Philippine International Convention Center as quarantine facilities, which could accommodate nearly 2,000 patients. It is targeting to fully operationalize the three facilities within the next 10 days.
"We'll also deploy three doctors and 50 nurses at the Rizal Memorial Complex," Galvez said.
He said that Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero E. Devera has agreed to convert CHED's convention center in Bicol and other areas for mass quarantine facilities.
In a virtual press briefing on Friday, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government now has eight facilities that can process the tests for COVID-19.
Aside from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the other facilities are in the San Lazaro Hospital, University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health, and the Lung Center of the Philippines, all in the National Capital Region; Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Benguet; Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City; Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City; and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.
"The additional testing facilities can help us immediately identify and isolate individuals who have COVID-19," Nograles said. Celerina Monte/DMS