MANILA - Despite a pullout order, over 100 medical interns at the Philippine General Hospital opted to stay on duty to boost manpower needs at the country's largest state hospital.
"Over 100 interns at the Philippine General Hospital volunteered to go back on-duty to help the patients and the remaining health care workers in the hospital," the University of the Philippines said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, as the country faced a public health emergency due to the rising number of cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
"The University salutes the hard work and bayanihan spirit among the frontliners, health workers, and medical professionals in the country's battle against COVID-19," it added.
UP said the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges on March 14 "gave out a directive to pull out medical interns out of all NCR hospitals" amid rising risks for health workers. Health officials earlier said some workers have also been placed under quarantine or strict monitoring after exposure to COVID-19 patients.
In welcoming the "reinforcements," PGH assured medical volunteers of personal protective equipment (PPEs), food, lodging, and standby medical care.
PGH earlier appealed for protective gear for its workers, prompting foreign affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin to urge the hospital to get supplies from the Bureau of Customs.
The World Health Organization on Monday said it turned over PPEs comprised of masks, examination gloves, respirators, isolation gowns and other equipment "that will help protect frontline health workers as they diagnose and treat patients."
The Philippines has recorded, as of Monday, 142 COVID-19 cases, including 12 deaths. The disease has spread out to over 100 countries since it first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year.