Press Release/13 May 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) is calling on more healthcare workers to join the battle versus COVID-19, following the announcement of the Inter-Agency Tasks Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases new guidelines for community quarantine across the nation.

In the May 12 Beat COVID-19 Virtual Presser, in honor of the International Nurses Day, Health Undersecretary Dr. Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire spoke with the National President of the Philippine Nurses Association, Inc. (PNA) Dr. Rosie De Leon on the need for more nurses to join the national response against COVID-19.

De Leon said that the nurses who are currently on the frontline have never been more motivated to fight against the pandemic.

“Kapag nakatulong kami, we are motivated po. Pag nag-i-improve ang ating country, lahat kaming mga nurses are motivated to continue fighting,” she said.

She further explained that the 24/7 role that nurses play goes well beyond the serving the physical needs of the patients. Nurses are also a source of emotional support that help manage the anxiety and fear levels of not just patients, but also all their other co-workers in the hospital.

Amidst the call for more nurses, De Leon reiterated that self-discipline is critical for nurses, especially at this time, because they can only help other people through the sickness when they themselves are healthy.

“Together we will fight as one,” she said. “We heal as one nation.”

A quarantine is still a quarantine

Many Filipinos will soon resume their lives once the community quarantine has either been eased or lifted in their respective locations. Singh-Vergeire emphasized that until a vaccine is found, the risk of the virus’ spread is still a major concern.

“Kahit GCQ o ECQ po ang ipatupad sa ating mga komunidad, mahalaga pong alalahanin natin na ito ay quarantine pa rin,” she said. “Ibig pong sabihin ay kailangan nating manatili sa ating mga tahanan unless pinapayagan po tayo ayon sa official guidelines na ilalabas ng pamahalaan sa mga susunod na araw.

“Kung tayo man ay payagang lumabas, kumpiyansa po ang Kagawaran ng Kalusugan na ang ating mga preventive measures ay magiging epektibo. Alalahanin lamang po natin na mag-physical distancing, magsuot ng mga mask, palagiang maghugas ng kamay at panatilihin ang proper hygiene, at sumunod sa tamang paraan ng pag-ubo o pag bahing.”

World War C continues

Singh-Vergeire noted that the DOH has used the time bought by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to better prepare the nation’s healthcare system, so that it will not be overwhelmed in the coming weeks.

She expressed confidence that through public and private sector partnerships, the country is well on its way to meeting the 30,000 tests per day target by May 30. The department’s mass hiring program also continues to bolster the ranks with encoders who will address the data encoding backlog.

“Ang World War C ay hindi matatapos hanggat wala tayong nadidiskubreng bakuna, ngunit kaya nating pabagalin ang pagkalat ng sakit at i-contain ito hangga’t maaari kung magkaroon man ng panibagong pagtaas ng bilang ng kaso,” Singh-Vergeire said.