MANILA — The Department of Health said Tuesday it would get substitutes from provinces for the medical workers at the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak in Metro Manila.
Some of the agency’s staff in its regional offices will be deployed to urban centers. The DOH will also announce a program for private healthcare professionals in other parts of the country who want to help in the national capital region, said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Kailangan po nating gumawa ng substitution team para naman makapagpahinga po ang ating mga kapatid na healthcare workers dito po sa National Capital Region,” she told reporters.
(We need to form a substitution team so our healthcare workers here in the National Capital Region can rest.)
Healthcare workers earlier called on the government to give them at least 2 weeks of “breathing space” by shifting Mega Manila back to a strict lockdown.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday heeded their request and announced that NCR, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan would go back to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 4 to 18.
During the MECQ, health workers will help barangay officers find coronavirus patients, said Vergeire.
“Makakaasa po ang mga barangay na mataas ang kaso, na kami po ay kasama ninyo sa pagbabahay-bahay [that] we call ‘active case-finding’ para i-search sino ang may sintomas, kailangan i-isolate o kailangang i-test,” she said.
(The barangays with many cases can expect our help.. that we will accompany you as you go house-to-house in what we call active case-finding to search for those who have symptoms, and those who need to be isolated or tested.)
The DOH will also work with the Alliance of Healthcare Professionals to recalibrate pandemic protocols by Friday, she said.
“We call on everybody to be the solution. It is a significant behavioral change in all areas of our life that will keep us and our loved ones safe,” Vergeire told the public.