Health workers in Philippines catching COVID-19 'worrisome': WHO official

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 01:30 PM

A health worker interviews a patient at the San Juan COVID-19 Kalinga Center on April 19, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called attention to the “worrisome” trend of more health care workers getting infected with the new coronavirus in the Philippines compared to the rest of the Western Pacific region.

The Philippines can be considered an “outlier” with health care workers accounting for 13 percent of total infections, compared to the regional average of 2 to 3 percent, said Dr. Abdi Mahamud, COVID-19 incident manager for Western Pacific.

“We are working very closely with the ministry of health to determine the reasons why the Philippines has a high percentage,” he said in an online press conference.

Mahamud could not yet tell why more medical frontliners were getting infected in the Philippines. But he said it might have to do with insufficient supply of personal protective equipment and the volume of patients they attend to.

At least 766 health care workers have contracted the new coronavirus. The Philippines has a death toll of 428 out of 6,459 infections as of Monday.