MANILA - The Department of Health denied Monday that it had barred Chinese doctors from helping the Philippines contain the novel coronavirus pandemic, as claimed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.
The agency 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 emerged late last year, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Locsin said this weekend he sought the help of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian to bring in the doctors.
"DOH is blocking their arrival. DON'T PISS ME OFF. LET THEM IN," he wrote on Twitter.
Locsin took down this tweet after hearing the health department's explanation, said Duque.
P500 ALLOWANCE FOR FILIPINO HEALTH WORKERS?
Duque also denied that the government will give a P500 allowance to Filipino health workers who will volunteer their services to the COVID-19 fight.
This amount is what the health department gave volunteers during the measles outbreak. An inter-agency task force will still deliberate on the allowance for COVID-19 volunteers, he said.
"Saludo po ako sa kanila at hindi po magtatagal bibigyan po natin ng pagkilala ang lahat ng ating frontline workers na nagbuwis at nagbubuwis ng kanilang buhay,' he told DZMM.
(I salute them and it will not be long before we recognize all our frontline workers who sacrificed and are sacrificing their lives.)
The government will give an aid of P100,000 to COVID-19 frontliners who will get severely ill, on top of a P30,000 to P40,000 insurance coverage from PhilHealth. Should they succumb to the respiratory disease, their families will get P1 million, he said.
The Philippines as of Sunday confirmed 71 deaths or about a 5-percent fatality rate out of its total 1,418 cases of the disease. The tally, which included 42 patients who were cured, could spike with the recent arrival of additional test kits, said the health department.