Philippines welcomes help from foreign frontliners in COVID-19 fight

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2020 09:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2020 09:13 PM

Philippines welcomes help from foreign frontliners in COVID-19 fight 1
Hospital frontliners wear personal protective equipment as they man the entrance of the emergency room in the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, Manila on March 24, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The Philippines will welcome help from foreign health professionals in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s top officials said Wednesday, with local frontliners overwhelmed with the increasing number of patients.

Manila hopes that it “can count on our friends especially in our hour of need,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who is also the spokesperson of the government’s inter-agency task force leading the response on COVID-19.

“We obviously welcome any help from other nations especially those who were successful in battling COVID-19,” Nograles said in a televised press briefing.

Other countries badly hit by the virus such as Italy have sought help from foreign doctors as the crisis upended lives, closing businesses and schools.

Italy, which has the most number of deaths due to the virus, received an emergency contingent of Cuban doctors and nurses earlier this week as the death toll in the Mediterranean country soared.

In the case of the Philippines, it’s top trading partner China, the origin of the virus, pledged last week to send medical supplies and health experts to help Filipino frontliners in addressing the pandemic.

Aside from the Philippines, Beijing has also sent medical experts to Europe, now the epicenter of the virus.

Nearly a third of the world’s population are under lockdown as governments scramble to contain the pandemic.  --With a report from Agence France-Presse