By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
As the Philippines braces for the possible local transmission of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Education (DepEd) gave the assurance that the welfare of students will remain its top priority.
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua assured learners in a recent public school visit in Quezon City that DepEd Task Force COVID-19 is “strengthening its measures against the coronavirus disease.”
“You are important to DepEd,” Pascua told the students of Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science-Technology High School. “We know that your dreams cannot wait, that is why building your capacities must continue.”
DepEd, he noted, issued directives on addressing COVID-10 related concerns, “because we do not want this goal to be delayed by any virus or disaster.”
Pascua visited the school as part of DepEd’s initiatives to increase the awareness of learners on how to combat COVID-19 and what do during education in emergencies.
“Each and everyone of you here, please be assured that the priority of DepEd is not just your safety but also your overall and continued growth through your studies,” he said.
During the school visit, Pascua encouraged everyone to follow protective measures such as practicing hand hygiene and proper coughing etiquette, avoiding symptomatic individuals and contact with farm and wild animals, consuming enough water, cooking food thoroughly, seeking immediate consultation when symptoms occur, initiating self-quarantine for 14 days (those with travel history and exposure), and enhancing standard infection prevention and control practices for all health facilities.
DepED Task Force COVID-19
Pursuant to DepEd Memorandum No. 11, DepEd Task Force COVID-19, in cooperation with the Department of Health (DOH), will lead the overall efforts of DepEd within the school system in addressing the situation through the formulation of policies, development strategies, action plans, implementation of its response to the virus, decisions for school suspensions, and promulgation of standard protocols in DepEd offices and schools.
Earlier, DOH said that local transmission of the COVID-19 may be inevitable as observed in nine other countries including Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Dashboard data on COVID-19 showed 45,174 confirmed cases and 1,115 reported deaths in 25 countries as of Feb. 12, 16:00 (CET).
In the Philippines, DOH COVID-19 tracker data as of Feb. 12, 12:00 noon showed there are 238 persons under investigation (PUIs) currently admitted in hospitals for possible coronavirus infection.
To date, the Philippines has three confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving Chinese nationals from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the deadly virus. One of them, a 44-year-old man, died, while the two others, a 38-year-old woman and a 60-year-old woman, have reportedly recovered.