THE quarantine of 30 Filipinos evacuated from Wuhan, China at the “Athletes’ Village” in New Clark City, Tarlac has thrust out front the need to set up infectious disease isolation rooms in government hospitals.
Wuhan City in Hubei province is the epicenter of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak that has killed more than 800 people and infected an estimated 37,200 others in China and 26 other countries.
The repatriated Filipinos were assisted by an eight-member Health Emergency Response Team (HERT) from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Department of Health (DoH).
From the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, the repatriates boarded air-conditioned buses that brought them to the nearby “Athletes’ Village” in Capas, Tarlac.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that it would be easier for the authorities to contain highly-contagious and deadly diseases if there are quarantine rooms in all government hospitals.
In airing his timely proposal, Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health, cited the difficulty in finding isolation and quarantine areas for the evacuated Filipinos from the “ground zero” of the nCoV.
At the same time, the soft-spoken and workaholic Go, a close associate of President Duterte, stressed the need to establish protocols, adding “dapat maging handa tayo sa ganitong mga diseases.”
Admittedly, impoverished but natural resources-rich Philippines has only a few quarantine or isolation areas for infectious diseases, such as nCoV, according to the neophyte senator from Mindanao.
Today, there indeed is a need to act now…and fast. Congress has no choice but to allocate funds to finance the setting up of quarantine rooms in all government-operated hospitals across the country.