Philippine Arena set to open as 'mega-quarantine' facility for COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2020 02:39 PM | Updated as of Apr 03 2020 04:13 PM

he Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan in this photo taken on December 11, 2019. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine Arena, the world's largest indoor arena, is set to be used as a "mega-quarantine" facility that will house possible carriers of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an official said Friday.

Religious sect Iglesia Ni Cristo, which owns the arena in Bulacan, has agreed to allow temporarily transform the facility to quarantine patients in Central Luzon, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Vince Dizon said during the Laging Handa briefing.

"Ang Philippine Arena ay magiging isang mega-quarantine facility sa Central Luzon," he said.

The government is currently constructing isolation rooms and sealed nurse stations in the Philippine Arena and at least a dozen other sports stadiums to ensure that the spread of the virus will not worsen inside these quarantine facilities, he said.

"The facilities are designed to make sure that patients are comfortable," said architect Daniel Lichauco, who led the design team.

"Lahat ng ginagawa namin has a nurse system na parang sa hospital
ibig sabihin you can turn on a light para alam ng mga nurses san pupunta," he said, noting that nurse stations are placed in an area separated by a decontamination system to ensure that health worker will also be protected from contracting the virus.

In Metro Manila, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the Philippine International Convention Center, and the World Trade Center are being converted into "instant hospitals" to accommodate more coronavirus patients, Dizon said.

"Gusto po natin mapigilan ang pagdagsa ng mga ito sa mga ospital
para yung mga ospital po natin ay nakatutok sa mga kritikal at severe ang sakit at pangangailangan," Dizon said.

The New Clark City in Tarlac, which was used to as a quarantine area for repatriated seafarers, is also being disinfected so that more COVID-19 patients or possible carriers can occupy the facility.

The government is fast-tracking the creation of quarantine centers as officials expect a spike in the need of isolation rooms, as soon as the Philippines begins mass testing for the coronavirus in 2 weeks.

The disease has infected at least 2,633 patients in the Philippines, with 107 deaths.