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Gatchalian urges gov’t to build field hospitals for COVID patients

The government should seriously consider constructing field hospitals to augment and increase augmentation of COVID-19 positive patients instead of enforcing stricter quarantine protocols against the coronavirus, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Wednesday.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

Since most hospitals now have reached full capacity of their COVID-19 dedicated beds, Gatchalian said the government “cannot just sit back and remain idle while COVID-19 cases continue to spread throughout the country.”

“We’ve practically done everything by the book except for the option of having makeshift hospitals strictly dedicated to COVID-19 positive cases, for those with mild to severe cases,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian noted there were Filipino architects that have made noble efforts to design low-cost “field hospitals” or emergency quarantine facilities (EQFs), which can accommodate 15 beds, an external testing box, dedicated disinfecting spaces, and lavatory facilities.

Other countries such as Singapore and Myanmar have adopted Filipino-designed EQFs, Gatchalian said.

“Instead of going back to MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) or ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), let’s expand our healthcare system. MECQ or ECQ is a very painful methodology for our constituents. I would rather address the health system so that our medical facilities will not be overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases,” Gatchalian said.

“This is one strategy that I’ve seen in different countries with COVID-19 success stories, which I haven’t seen done here in the country,” he pointed out.

“Looking at socioeconomic numbers such as hunger, unemployment, business – the country’s economy will be put in a dire situation if we go back to stricter quarantine rules. Marami tayong mga kababayan (We’ll have many people) who will regress to poverty,” he said.

Gatchalian lamented that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has already breached the 80,000 mark. According to the senator, he had already suggested the idea of “field hospitals” to the National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. and discussed the feasibility of putting these up in key areas to contain cases of cross-contamination.

The senator said it is imperative for the government to try different strategies to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases in the country and to address the country’s problematic health system.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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