MANILA – The government assured that the purchased personal protective equipment (PPE) sets are not substandard and have undergone strict quality evaluation, to ensure the medical and health care workers are safe amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, National Action Plan (NAP) against Covid-19 Chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Saturday.
“We will not compromise the standards of the PPEs because it will greatly affect the lives and safety of the front-liners,” Galvez, also the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said in a virtual presser.
The government procurement of PPE is processed directly with the manufacturer, he said, to ensure the PPE set is not substandard.
Since the government has begun purchasing medical-grade Level-4 quality PPE sets, he said there has been a great reduction of casualties or death cases among healthcare workers.
“Kung titingnan niyo yung graph ng ating casualties atsaka mga na-infect na mga health workers ay talagang bumaba po from March 24 nung nagkaroon tayo ng distribution ng mga PPEs (when you look at the graph of casualties and infected health workers, there has been a decrease of cases from March 24—when we had started the distribution of PPE sets),” he said.
He said there is an ongoing distribution of protective gear to the various Covid-19 referral hospitals across the country.
He also noted that the government has already stabilized the supply and demand for PPE sets in the country.
On the other hand, Galvez said there are already 52 accredited testing laboratories nationwide, which will strengthen the country’s testing capacity on Covid-19.
“Kung pwede po nating magdaragdag pa tayo at patataasan pa po natin ang capacity natin (If possible, we will add more testing laboratories and increase our testing capacity),” he said.
Covid-19 contact tracing
Meanwhile, Galvez said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is doing its best to strengthen the contact tracing in the country, by recruiting more contact tracers.
He said the local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to use the StaySafe mobile application, as part of the task force’s strategies to enhance contact tracing.
There has been an improvement of 80-90 percent on the government’s contact tracing capabilities, he said.
The turn-over of the data collected in the StaySafe mobile app is yet to be confirmed with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), he said.
“We will discuss that with the IATF. We are yet to confirm the turn-over but we will talk about that with the DICT and also DILG since it will be used by the LGUs and the national task force,” he said.
Galvez said the national and local governments are working together to improve the situation of the country amid the coronavirus health crisis, as most of the communities gradually shift to general community quarantine (GCQ).
“Talagang inoobserbahan po namin at tinitingnan din po namin ang granule updates ng mga barangay (we are doing extensive observations and we’re looking at the granule updates from all barangays), we are noting those villages that should be specifically surveyed and monitored by the LGUs,” Galvez said.
Galvez said the government is improving the health and safety protocols for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), noting the government will use electronic data upon the pre-departure of these OFWs abroad.
Other airports are set to open to decongested the airports in Metro Manila, he said.
He said the government is doing its best to regulate the inbound passengers to more or less 1,500 per day.
He added the targeted maximum length of stay for inbound OFWs in Metro Manila is only five days and they have to return immediately to their provinces within that holding period.
Upon their arrival, he said the OFWs have to go through the “one-stop-shop” set up in every airport.
All returning Filipinos from abroad, he added, are immediately being swabbed upon entry.
The OFWs will be isolated for a 14-day quarantine period if they tested positive.
OFWs who tested positive are being treated immediately at the Philippine Arena quarantine facility in Bulacan province.
He said there are already 78 OFWs who have recovered from the disease.
The OFWs are being assisted during their travel back home to their provinces through the Hatid Probinsya program of the government.
Galvez urged the public to stay safe and to continue following the government’s health protocols such as social distancing, wearing face masks, and adapting proper hygiene “as the best offense and defense against Covid-19.” (PNA)