The passage of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) would enable the country to build enough isolation facilities for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement, as he admitted that while more Covid-19 quarantine facilities are being constructed, these are not enough to accommodate individuals infected with the new coronavirus.
“As we said, we’re moving towards expanding our isolation facilities. We, however, concede that we probably will not have enough for the time being,” Roque told CNN Philippines’ The Source.
Amid the unabated surge in Covid-19 infections in the country, the government has planned to build more isolation facilities, especially in critical areas.
Schools, hotels, dormitories, and other establishments have also been tapped as temporary quarantine centers.
Roque said the government would also look for other establishments that can be used for isolation purposes.
He, however, acknowledged that the number of people who should be housed in quarantine facilities continues to go up.
“If they are for instance, 4,000 positive [Covid-19 cases] daily, if you are going to trace 10 of their closes contacts, that’s going to be 40,000 a day of individuals that you will have to isolate,” Roque said.
Roque also conceded that transforming other establishments into isolation facilities like the public schools is a challenge, saying it “does not happen overnight.”
He said the proposed Bayanihan 2 needs to be passed into law to help the government utilize funds for the procurement of additional Covid-19 beds.
“We need to also await the passage of Bayanihan 2 because refurbishing even the public schools would incur expenses. But the good thing is with the public schools, we don’t really have to build structures. We just have to buy beds, linens, and provide more kitchens for these public schools when we use them as isolation centers,” he said.
The proposed Bayanihan 2 includes a standby fund that aims to support response measures to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, World Health Organization (WHO) noted that young people infected with Covid-19 had risen and continued to rise.
WHO also raised worry that young individuals with Covid-19 were posing a danger to elderly people and other vulnerable groups.
Asked how the government would respond to WHO’s concern that Covid-19 pandemic was being driven now by younger people, Roque said individuals who have close contact also need to be isolated.
“We realize that there is no other alternative but also to subject to institutional isolation even the close contacts of those that have tested positive,” Roque said. “All those who had close contacts with the positive can also be subjected to the testing now.” (PNA)