MANILA – The government is now expediting the process of transforming maritime vessels, hotels, and other private establishments into quarantine and isolation facilities, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday.
Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has already directed concerned government agencies to hasten the identification of establishments that will be used for quarantine purposes.
This developed as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the Philippines climbed to 1,546, as of Monday.
Nograles, who is also IATF-EID spokesperson, said the Department of Transportation (DOTr), in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), was tasked to look for maritime vessels that can serve as “floating” quarantine centers.
“Ang DOTr ay maghahanap ng mga barko na pwedeng gamitin bilang mga quarantine centers (The DOTr will look for ships that be used as quarantine centers),” he said in a virtual presser aired on state-run PTV-4.
Nograles said the Department of Tourism (DOT) was likewise directed to finalize the identification of hotels and other similar establishments that will be tapped as quarantine facilities in every region of the country.
He said the Bureau of Quarantine would assess the adequacy of hotels and other facilities that will be identified by the DOT as new quarantine centers for people suspected to be infected with Covid-19.
“Ang DOT naman ang maghahanap ng mga hotel sa iba’t-ibang region ng bansa na pwedeng gamitin bilang quarantine facilities (The DOT will look for hotels in every region that can be used as quarantine facilities),” he said.
Nograles said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is also coordinating with private entities to use other establishments for quarantine and isolation purposes.
He noted that the Philippine International Convention Center and World Trade Center in Pasay City, and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila are among those that will be converted into “fully-functional quarantine facilities.”
The IATF-EID earlier directed all local government units (LGUs) to identify government facilities that can be used as quarantine centers.
Nograles said LGUs were ordered to finalize the furbishing of provincial, city, municipal, and village quarantine facilities.
“The DOH Centers for Health Development and the regional offices of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, LGUs, including uniformed services, shall form composite teams who will serve as personnel in quarantine facilities operated by the national government and LGUs,” he said.
Last week, the Department of Education also expressed willingness to convert public schools into quarantine facilities, in case the Covid-19 situation worsens in the country. (PNA)