MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has stressed that transferring patients with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) under the government’s “Oplan Kalinga” program is “urgent and necessary not only to closely monitor and treat them but also for the good of the community.”
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the move is plainly to ensure that COVID-19 patients will be attended to and that they will not spread the virus to their families and the community.
“Kapag nasa Ligtas Centers sila, mas mababantayan at maaalagaan sila doon at higit sa lahat, maliit na ang chance na maikalat nila ang virus sa kanilang pamilya,” he said.
He also reiterated that the program will be led by local government officials and health workers and that police will only assist in transporting the patients to quarantine facilities.
He added that reports stating that the government troops will conduct a “house-to-house search” in a police-type operations are fake news.
Año said that local health workers will not do “house-to-house” as not all not all households will be visited by the team headed by the local government unit’s (LGUs) Local Epidemiological Surveillance Units (LESU) “but only those listed in those COVID positive in the community.”
“Hindi po natin uubusin ang oras ng ating LESU sa pag-isa-isa ng mga bahay ng mga tao. Ito po ay fake news. Tanging yung mga na-test po na positive na kasama sa kanilang listahan lamang at hindi makakapag-comply sa minimum requirement para payagang makapag-home quarantine ang ating dadalhin sa mga Ligtas Center,” he said.
The DILG chief emphasized that coronavirus-infected patients will be brought to Ligtas Centers as a precautionary measure to curtail transmission and to ensure that they are well taken care of as these isolation centers are equipped to handle their medical needs as opposed to practicing home quarantine.
He assured that food and all other needs of the patients transferred to quarantine facilities will be provided for.
“Ito ang siguradong paraan para mabantayan natin at matalo natin ang virus na ito,” he said.
The move comes after the government’s task force against COVID-19 issued guidelines for the conduct of home quarantine.
The task force earlier said that patients showing mild flu-like symptoms or asymptomatic are allowed to do home quarantine if he/she has a separate room where the patient can be confined; if the patient has his own comfort room; and if he is not living with people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 such as senior citizen and immunocompromised individuals, among others.
If these protocols cannot be observed at home, then the patient must be brought to a local quarantine facility.
“Ito po ay tungkulin ng inyong pamahalaan sa ating mga mamamayan na naaayon sa batas lalo na ngayong panahon ng krisis at kayo ay lumalaban sa isang pandemia. Makipagtulungan po tayo sa gobyerno dahil ang kapakanan at kalusugan ng buong komunidad na ang nakasalalay,” Año said.
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