Chinese doctors to help overwhelmed Filipino virus frontliners

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 30 2020 05:42 PM

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- A team of Chinese medical experts is set to fly to the Philippines "shortly" to help in the country's fight against the spread of COVID-19 as more local health frontliners become overwhelmed with the pandemic response.

Talks for the arrival of the foreign medical team are underway, said Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana on Monday.

"Mayroong team na inihahanda na pupunta diyan para tumulong sa atin. I think that will be done soon kasi pinag-uusapan na yung details kailan makakapunta, sino, sa lalong madaling panahon," he said in a televised briefing.

(There is a team being prepared to go there to help us. I think that will be done soon because the specifics are already being discussed.)

The Department of Health said it is preparing the hotel accommodations and translators for the 12 Chinese doctors who will share their experience in Wuhan, the central Chinese metropolis where COVID-19 first emerged late last year.

The development came as several private hospitals said it could no longer accommodate more COVID-19 cases due to overcapacity.

In some areas, health workers are also contacting the disease which causes flu-like symptoms.

Manila sought the help of Beijing on the pandemic after the economic giant saw a slowdown in its virus cases, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Gusto natin maishare nila sa atin ang kanilang expertise because nakita po natin na ang bansa nila ay nagkaroon po ng pagtigil ng matataas na kaso, pagtigil na mataas na pagkamatay. So gusto lang ho nating matuto galing sa kanilang bansa," she added.

(We want them to share their expertise to us necause we saw that China had a slowdown in the increase of cases as well as COVID-19 deaths.)

Last week, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Manila hopes that it “can count on our friends especially in our hour of need" as he expressed the country's openness in accepting foreign help.

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

The Philippines as of Sunday confirmed 78 deaths out of its total 1,546 cases of COVID-19. 

The tally, which included 42 patients who were cured, could spike with the recent arrival of additional test kits, said the health department.