MANILA – Local police units will now be assisting and escorting all health workers to their assigned hospitals and medical facilities following reports they have come under violent attacks.
In a virtual presser on Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said threatening the safety of health workers amid the health crisis is “unacceptable.”
“Despite all the support and love our country has shown our health workers, it is unfortunate that we have received reports that these front-liners have come under attack,” he said.
To ensure their protection, he said Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Archie Gamboa has directed police to provide assistance and security to health workers in the wake of violent attacks in Cebu and Sultan Kudarat.
“For the added peace of mind of our health workers, PNP personnel manning Quarantine Control Stations are under instructions to assist them and escort them to their assigned hospitals,” he said.
He said the government will not allow any health worker, especially those in the front line against the new 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19), to be harmed.
“The PNP is committed to apply the full might of the law against those who dare to harm our health workers — and will do whatever it takes to protect them from crime, violence, and any form of oppression and discrimination,” he said.
Last March 27, a male nurse was reportedly splashed with chlorine while walking along Tres De Abril Street in Cebu City.
On the same day, a front-liner in a hospital in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat was mobbed by a group of five who splattered bleach all over his face.
Transport services, disinfection tents
Since public transportation is banned under the Luzon-wide quarantine, he said the government has provided 16 daily bus routes around Metro Manila and its suburbs to shuttle health workers to and from their duty stations.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has deployed 402 vehicles nationwide to serve as transportation services for our front-liners and health workers.
As an added disinfection measure, DPWH has installed additional decontamination tents and gantries to disinfect vehicles traversing national highways.
“Through its field units, the DPWH provides disinfection and sanitation services for vehicles traversing national highways and public establishments and places via installed sanitation tents and gantry facilities,” he said.
To date, he said the DPWH has installed a total of 336 decontamination tents and 76 gantries.
The DPWH has also decontaminated 415 convergence areas such as checkpoints, government facilities, schools, hospitals, and markets, he said.
Disinfection of cars can prevent the transmission of virus through commonly touched surfaces such as the steering wheel, gearstick, radio, and door handles.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it is not certain how long Covid-19 survives on surfaces but noted that it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. (PNA)