IATF OKs entry of Chinese medical experts
Christina Mendez, Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved the entry of 12 medical experts to assist the Philippines in the fight against the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

The Department of Health is expecting the experts to arrive in Manila today, according to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

In a virtual press briefing yesterday, Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles said the IATF authorized the “technical visit of 12 medical experts” from China “who will assist government efforts in addressing the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines, subject to ratification by the Office of the President.”

Nograles said the decision was among those arrived at during the IATF meeting last Friday.

Vergeire said yesterday the team will be composed of doctors and nurses who “will observe and give recommendations on the right things to do to improve our infection prevention and control, critical care and laboratory (operations)… They will stay here until April 19.”

The experts will visit the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, San Lazaro Hospital and the Lung Center of the Philippines – the DOH’s three leading referral centers for COVID-19.

Vergeire earlier said she made a request through the Chinese embassy for the Chinese government to send experts who will guide the Philippines in fighting the pandemic.

The IATF also delineated the parameters for the Department of Health as well as other agencies to assess the next step once the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon ends on April 12.

The Philippine government’s move to allow Chinese experts was in response to China’s offer to help the country in battling COVID-19.

Ambassador Huang Xilian earlier said the main task of the medical expert team is to provide technical advice on epidemic prevention and control as well as share medical treatment experience.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had expressed appreciation for China’s support to the Philippines in addressing the pandemic.

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