Public schools may be used as isolation facilities until December: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 04:57 PM | Updated as of Aug 12 2020 03:51 PM

A member of the Manila Health Department’s sanitation team disinfects a classroom in the General M. Hizon Elementary School on May 30, 2020 in preparation for enrollment on June 1. Czar Dancel, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Public schools can be used as isolation facilities until the end of the year, Malacañang said Tuesday since the resumption of face-to-face classes in some areas may be allowed by January.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones approved the use of public schools as isolation facilities until Dec. 31 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

"Nandiyan din po ang ating mga public schools para magsilbing isolation facilities sa level po ng mga barangays," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(Our public schools are there to serve as isolation facilities in the barangay level.)

"Importante po talaga ma-isolate kung wala pong sariling kuwarto at walang sariling banyo [sa sariling bahay]," he added.

(Isolation is really important especially for those who don't have their own rooms or bathroom [at home].)

As of posting time, the Department of Education has yet to respond to ABS-CBN News' queries on the use of public schools as isolation facilities.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier allowed the resumption of face-to-face classes in areas under modified general community quarantine that are classified as having a low risk of COVID-19 transmission by January next year.

From Aug. 24, classes will resume through blended learning as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Isolation czar and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar meanwhile said the government is still constructing isolation facilities as they expect to finish some 300 more facilities with a 12,200 bed capacity by the end of the month.

"Tuloy-tuloy po iyong pag-construct namin ng mga isolation. So, at least kapag na-test po at na-trace ang mga COVID positive, puwede nang ilagay kaagad sa mga isolation centers," he said.

(We are still constructing isolation facilities. So after testing and tracing, we can put them in isolation centers.)

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has confirmed 139,538 COVID-19 cases, including 2,312 deaths and 68,432 recoveries.