There are now more asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients proceeding to government-run facilities for isolation, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-19 deputy chief implementer Secretary and Testing Czar Vivencio “Vince” Dizon bared that they have booked an additional 2,000 hotel rooms to accommodate additional asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 patients.
In a taped interview with Roque, Dizon explained that since the “Oplan Kalinga” program was launched, isolation centers have been quickly filling up with more asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 patients.
Roque said he did not have data on the number of patients who have been transferred from their homes to isolation facilities, but vowed to collate and present data when it is available.
“According to Testing Czar Vince Dizon, we’ve had to book at least 2,000 hotel rooms now because apparently our We Heal As One Centers which can accommodate up to 3,000 people is not enough. So we have booked additional 2,000 rooms. It seems the messaging is working. Nakikinig po ang taong-bayan (The people are listening),” he said in a virtual Palace briefing.
He also thanked the public for cooperating with the government’s call to asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 patients to allow themselves to be accompanied by medical professionals to isolation centers.
“Maraming salamat po at marami sainyo na tumugon na dito sa panawagan dahil ito po talaga ay isang epektibong pamamaraan para mapabagal po natin ang pagkalat ng Covid (Thank you very much because many of you have responded to the government’s call because this is really an effective way to slow down the spread of Covid-19), he said.
There are currently four We Heal As One Centers in Metro Manila and two in Clark, Pampanga.
These facilities are the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and Rizal Memorial Stadium at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the Philippine International Convention Center Forum Halls and the World Trade Center in Pasay City; the Asean Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga; and the National Government Administrative Center in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac.
Home quarantine is still allowed among asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 patients, provided they have their own rooms and bathrooms separate from other members of the household.
Return of quarantine passes
To regulate the number of people leaving their homes amid the continued rise in Covid-19 cases, Roque said he will suggest the return of the quarantine pass requirement in Metro Manila.
He said he will propose requiring quarantine passes to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) during its next meeting.
According to Roque, a colleague of his observed that some local governments in areas under the least restrictive modified community quarantine (MGCQ) still require their residents to present their quarantine passes even if they are no longer required.
“Siguro isa ito sa imumungkahi mamaya na dahil [general community quarantine] naman tayo, kinakailangan pa rin sitahin at para mabawasan pa rin yung lumalabas (Perhaps this will be one of the suggestions later because we are now in GCQ, we need to reprimand them to minimize the number of people going out) without having to lockdown the economy again,” he said.
He, however, clarified that the IATF is yet to approve this proposal.
Quarantine passes are no longer required in checkpoints. However, individuals must present other proofs of identification or their certificates of employment.
Metro Manila is currently under GCQ, but Roque did not discount the possibility it might revert to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second-highest quarantine classification if Covid-19 cases in the country’s metropolis continue to spike.
President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to place Metro Manila under MECQ from July 16 to 31 but decided to retain the GCQ classification, a more relaxed community quarantine, in the area.
As of Thursday (July 23), there are a total of 74,390 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country, of which 24,383 are recoveries and 1,871 are deaths.
Out of this number, 9.0 percent are asymptomatic, 90.1 percent are mild, 0.5 percent are severe, and 0.4 percent are critical. (PNA)