MANILA - The Philippine Navy on Saturday said it has made a "feasible plan" on converting the President's yacht BRP Pangulo into a quarantine facility as requested by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The yacht, currently deployed in Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, can accommodate 28 patients and 5 medical personnel, the Navy said in a statement.
A 3-meter distance will be strictly observed between patients while different entry points will be made for the patients and medical staff.
The ship’s crew will also remain on board but they will be sealed off from the area of the patients, the Navy said.
Duterte, in a public address Thursday, said he had ordered the Navy to turn the yacht into a hospital.
"Ang Philippine Navy, in-alert ko. Sabi ko, 'yung mga barko ninyo na magaganda... 'Yung Pangulo, 'yung barko ng Presidente ng Pilipinas, maganda 'yan. Ang loob niyan parang hotel," he said.
"Sabi ko sa Navy, gawaing ospital kaagad pati magtulong sila ng iba."
The ship's captain Commander Marissa Andres-Martinez is coordinating with the military and government hospitals in Davao for the medical equipment needed for the facility, the Navy statement said.
"The Philippine Navy is fully committed to support the Bayanihan to Heal as One initiative by devoting its personnel, and resources as it explores all possible means to contain and defeat the spread of the corona virus disease in the country," it said.
Several other existing facilities are also being prepared to become COVID-19 quarantine facilities.
The Philippines, which has imposed a month-long Luzon-wide lockdown as it also eyes massive testing to confront the coronavirus pandemic, recorded on Saturday its lowest number of new COVID-19 patients on a daily basis since March 26 at 76, bringing the total to 3,094.
So far, the death toll stood at 144, while 57 patients have recovered.