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Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno

Manila's isolation facilities nearly full

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Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said all of Manila’s isolation facilities for those afflicted with the coronavirus disease 2019 are nearing their limit.

The mayor broke the sad news, as he reiterated calls for “kusang disiplina” (self-discipline) among Manileños, stay home as much as possible, and observe the three Ws — wear your face masks, wash your hands and watch your distance.

He also urged residents to adopt the mindset of COVID-19’s presence whenever they step out of their houses, to be conscious and not let their guards down every day, or else find themselves a statistic to the virus.

Although the Manila city government opened a number of COVID-19 facilities, the recent spike in cases due to the looser general community quarantine has filled up the city’s hospitals and isolation centers.

Manila has six city-run hospitals, one in each district, and 12 quarantine facilities with a 600-bed capacity.

“We have quarantine facilities for mild asymptomatic, for COVID-positive dialysis patients, pregnant women, COVID-positive alone and people awaiting results of confirmatory tests done through swabbing,” Domagoso said.

Meanwhile, the mayor admitted he was highly disappointed over the handling of the locally stranded individuals who trooped to the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Malate recently.

“I am disappointed, and so are all our nurses and doctors, only to find out that there are 48 who turned positive for COVID,” Domagoso stressed, as he expressed hope the situation will not happen again.

“The concept and principle are fine, I agree, but it was not done according to the set of rules that is being followed by all local governments. It is quite unfair for the receiving provinces to send someone there who is infected. We cannot keep quiet. They (the concerned authorities) mended their ways and promised that this surge of people will not happen again,” he added.

Last 24 July, about 4,000 LSIs thronged to the city and camped out in the vicinity of the Rizal Stadium before they were finally allowed inside where they stayed for nearly a week while waiting for free transport to their respective provinces.

Manila’s Department of Public Services, headed by Kenneth Amurao, dispatched 30 staff members to collect over 50 tons of garbage the LSI left behind. They also had their hands full cleaning up toilets that were unbearably smelly and dirty due to the huge number of users.

“We will also take in LSI if it will help, but we, as an intermediary city, when people come from their origin going to their end point, they will pass through us. So, they have to make sure that medical protocols are practiced, not only for the people of Manila, but for the receiving provinces as well,” Domagoso said.

Other than putting up several temporary quarantine facilities, the Manila Health Department had tightened its effort to focus on intensified contact tracing efforts.

Some health center workers spread throughout the city will now be tasked to trace COVID-19 afflicted individuals, as well as their last contacts, to determine the scope of transmission.

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