DOH says COVID-19 patient who escapes from hospital may face charges

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 27 2020 06:08 PM

MANILA — Escaping from a hospital while being treated for COVID-19 is a violation of the law. This is what the Department of Health (DOH) reminded Filipinos after a patient reportedly escaped from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). 

“Kami po ay nakikiusap na kapag po kayo ay na-admit sa ospital o sa ating mga community quarantine facilities ay sumunod po lamang tayo sa mga protocols nang kayo ay magamot at mabigyang lunas dito po sa mga nararamdaman nyo,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a televised briefing on Monday. 

(We are appealing to those admitted to hospitals or community quarantine facilities to follow protocols so that you are properly treated.)

Vergeire said this a day after reports came out that a 31-year-old patient escaped from PGH where he was being treated and isolated.

“Nais din po naming ipaalala na ang pagtakas o hindi pagsunod sa alituntunin ng DOH na mga ospital o health-care facilities habang kayo ay ginagamot laban sa COVID ay isang paglabag sa batas,” Vergeire said. “Maari po kayong makasuhan kung hindi po kayo susunod sa protocol, alinsunod sa RA 11332 o Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases.”

(We want to remind you that escaping or not following the guidelines of DOH hospitals and health-care facilities while you are being treated for COVID is a violation of the law. You can be charged if you don’t follow the protocol, based on RA 11332 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases.)

Under the prohibited acts of this law is “Non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.” Penalties can range from a fine of P20,000 to P50,000 to imprisonment of 1 to 6 months.

Vergeire said staying in a health-care facility is not just for an individual’s safety but for the safety of the public.

As of Monday, the Philippines had 7,777 COVID-19 cases. Of that number, 932 have recovered and 511 have died.