MANILA - Nearly 600 Filipino doctors and nurses have volunteered to support the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), answering the call of the health department for support as the number of cases in the Philippines continues to rise.
As of 6 p.m. Saturday, 593 "health warriors" had signed up to be assigned in three government hospitals designated by the Department of Health (DOH) for COVID-19 patients, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing.
She earlier named the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, the Jose M. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Caloocan City, and the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City as referral centers for COVID-19 patients.
Vergeire said they will implement a "two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off" policy for volunteer health workers. She explained that a medical frontliner should go on two weeks of quarantine after treating COVID-19 patients for also two weeks.
"Sa bawat dalawang linggong duty, ang healthcare worker ay kailangang sumailalim sa two-week quarantine period pagkatapos," she said.
The DOH's call for volunteers followed an appeal from several overwhelmed private hospitals whose staff and resources have been swamped by an influx of COVID-19 patients and suspected cases in their facilities.
"And now we are going to call on volunteers po, magpo-post po kami, volunteer doctors, nurses… for the augmentation of staff para sa tatlong ospital po na ito," Vergeire said in an earlier interview.
(And now we are going to call on volunteers, we will post about this, volunteer doctors, nurses... for the augmentation of staff for these three hospitals.)
As of Saturday, the Philippines has logged 1,075 cases of COVID-19, with 68 deaths and 35 recoveries.