'Unprofessional, not fair': DOH calls out hospital over coronavirus announcement


Posted at Mar 07 2020 04:45 PM

MANILA — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday called out the Cardinal Santos Medical Center (CSMC) in San Juan City for outing itself as the hospital that handled a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient, calling the move "unprofessional."

CSMC on Friday issued a "public advisory" and revealed that the first local case of COVID-19 was initially admitted in their facility before being transferred to the state-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City.

But Duque called the disclosure "not fair" because CSMC had requested not to be named when the DOH announced the new COVID-19 case. 

"Ang Cardinal Santos tumawag iyan... They made a request na kung puwede huwag babanggitin 'yung Cardinal Santos Medical Center only to find out later na sila pala mismo ang nagbanggit ng sarili nila. So you know this is not fair," Duque, visibly irate, told a press conference. 

(Cardinal Santos called... They made a request that if possible we refrain from naming Cardinal Santos Medical Center only to find out later it would name itself.)

"Makikiusap kayo tapos sasabihin namin 'we respect' tapos maglalabas kayo [ng statement]. Hindi naman tama 'yon (You make an appeal and we say we respect and then you release a statement. That's not right). So I am telling you this is really unprofessional on the part of some of these institutions," the Health chief added. 

The Department of Health (DOH) likewise addressed some private firms who took it upon themselves to "confirm" COVID-19 cases and asked them instead to coordinate with health authorities "to balance the interest of public safety and privacy." 

This followed the confirmation of Deloitte Philippines that one of its employees had been diagnosed with the disease. 

"Alam po natin na ang interes ay maayos pero kung titingnan natin sa isang banda ang implikasyon naman sa populasyon ay nagkakaroon po ng takot at stigma," said Health Assistant Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

(We know that their interest is to be prompt but if you look at another angle, the implication to the population is that there might be fear and stigma.)

The DOH said it had recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the declaration of a state of public health emergency after the country recorded its first local transmission of the virus and confirmed a sixth case.