With DOH supply of PPEs limited, Duque says healthy people don’t need masks

Published February 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Analou De Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) said the availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for health workers is now limited amid the threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo said the supply of PPEs will only last up to one or two months. PPEs include disposable face masks, gowns, and gloves, among other items.

“As of now, we still have enough supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our health workers. It’s good for another one to two months,” the health official said.

“We can still do with it, but we really need to purchase more already.”

Recently, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the demand and prices of PPEs globally have already soared due to COVID-19.

“The world is facing severe disruption in the market for personal protective equipment. The demand is 200 times [more] than normal and prices are up to 20 times higher,” Ghebreyesus said.

“This situation has been exacerbated by widespread, inappropriate use of PPEs outside patient care. As a result, there are now depleted stockpiles and backlogs of four to six months. Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient to meet the needs of WHO and our partners,” he added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously released an advisory stating that people who are in good health condition do not need to use face masks.

Moreover, the N95 mask must be reserved for healthcare and other frontline workers who are attending to patients with respiratory infections or patients under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19.

“The public is enjoined to judiciously use masks to prevent the shortage of surgical masks and N95 masks,” Duque said.

The DOH, meanwhile, said the number of PUIs for COVID-19 has increased to 441 since the start of their monitoring. The number of confirmed cases remains at three, including one mortality. It added that 230 PUIs are currently admitted in hospitals, while 208 have already been discharged.