By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government said on Sunday that entry to the four national hospitals based in the city will be controlled in a move to prevent the spread of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
On Saturday, Mayor Joy Belmonte signed a memorandum that controlled access to the Philippine Heart Center (PHC), East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), Philippine Lung Center (PLC), and National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI).
Although the four hospitals are under the supervision of the Department of Health (DOH), Belmonte said the memorandum was in accordance with the local government’s power under R.A. 11332 to “conduct and enforce disease surveillance and response systems, epidemic outbreak and rapid containment, quarantine and isolation, disease prevention and control measures.”
She said the memorandum was vital with the rising number of persons under investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 in the Philippine Heart Center.
As a precaution, Belmonte said other hospitals that are within the vicinity of these hospitals were also currently being closely monitored by the city in coordination with their respective incident management teams or equivalent offices.
In the memorandum, Belmonte said access to these hospitals shall be strictly limited to the following: patients in need of care, a maximum of two family members of patients at a time, doctors and medical health professionals performing essential medical or support services, persons delivering essential supplies and authorized government personnel.
All others shall be denied access to ensure the safety of the general public.
Protocols have been set to monitor all persons given access to the facilities in the event that contact tracing of individuals will be necessary.
On March 13, Belmonte placed the city under a state of calamity with the approval of the City Council, allowing the city government and its barangay officials to access their Quick Response Fund (QRF) to effectively address the public health crisis.
“All measures are being taken to contain the virus, such as: city-wide disinfection, comprehensive contact tracing, orientation of the 142 barangays on the procedure of the use of the QRF, prohibition of mass gatherings, home quarantine, price freeze, and set up of isolation rooms in local hospitals among others,’’ Belmonte said.
She also urged the public to cooperate with the directives of the national and local governments and follow all precautionary measures issued by the Department of Health to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Meanwhile, Belmonte will be signing an executive order that will impose an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the city.
She said the local police have already been informed of the memorandum which they have to implement immediately.