Capitol readies Busay facility
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - February 12, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu provincial government is preparing an evacuation center in Barangay Busay, Cebu City to be used as quarantine facility as it anticipates more passengers to be subjected for screening and possible isolation after the national government included Taiwan in its travel advisory in efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease.

“We also are now identifying an evacuation site… an evacuation center that is now located in Busay. That is now being outfitted,” Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said yesterday.

Garcia said she has instructed Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Christina Giango, to make sure that the facility has electricity and water.

She clarified that the facility in Busay will be used only when the number of Filipino passengers who arrive in Cebu from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan will go beyond the holding capacity at the Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital in Mandaue City and the Women and Children Development Center in Barangay Lahug.

“As much as possible, ato ‘sang i-contain sa Cebu City,” Garcia said.

This means that the rehabilitation facility in Pinamungajan town, which is located at least two hours away west of Cebu City, will be the last priority.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) decided to extend its preventive travel ban to Taiwan – with the exception of Filipinos and permanent resident visa holders – as a response to the threat of the 2019-nCoV ARD.

Garcia said the same protocols enumerated in Executive Order 5 will apply to Filipino passengers from Taiwan.

“It will be the same protocols… it doesn’t change actually. The same protocols nga dunay holding area. I believe nga the holding area na-set aside na sa MCIAA (Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority) is big enough,” she told reporters.

Based on existing protocols, passengers will be ushered to the holding area provided by MCIAA to be evaluated if they are fit for home quarantine. For passengers eligible for home quarantine, their respective local government units will then be notified to check if their area meets the protocol requirements.

Those who will not be eligible for home quarantine will be transported to quarantine facilities.

“Ang ato lang karon gitan-aw nga concern is our quarantine facility… we do not know how many will be qualified for home quarantine. But the balance of that, it will have to be handled by the DOH quarantine facility or our own,” Garcia said.

Meanwhile, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista said yesterday that the agency’s centers in the country, including those in Cebu, are ready to accept those who will have to be quarantined.

The Department of Health (DOH) will assess if the centers pass quarantine standards.

"Syempre, handa kaming tumulong but our centers to be used as a quarantine facility is still subject for approval by DOH," Bautista said.

DSWD is also willing to provide psychosocial intervention and stress debriefing.

Work with PNP

Garcia said the province will coordinate closely with the Police Regional Office- 7’s anti-cybercrime unit for the implementation of the 2019-nCoV ARD preventive ordinance that penalizes those who will spread fake information about the virus and those who will falsify information on the Health Declaration Cards.

“We agreed that we can work hand-in-hand in implementing this particular section of the ordinance,” she said.

Garcia said the province will enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the PNP to strengthen the partnership.

Work from home option

With reports that cases of the 2019 n-CoV ARD have surpassed the global death toll of the 2003 SARS outbreak, Senator Risa Hontiveros encouraged the private sector to ensure the protection of workers and to provide a ‘work from home’ option for employees.

“Dapat ligtas ang lahat. Ito ang priority natin. Para sa mga empleyadong pwede namang ‘work from home,’ dapat may ganoong option. Kung hindi naman kailangang mag-commute ang empleyado araw-araw, mas mapapangalagaan ang kalusugan nila kapag pwedeng magtrabaho sa bahay,” Hontiveros said in a statement

The Senator also urged employers to provide necessary protective measures for their employees inside the workplace.

Hontiveros reiterated that precautions in terms of maintaining proper hygiene and frequent handwashing must be observed. JMO (FREEMAN)

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