By Betheena Unite
All state-run and private hospitals have been barred from disclosing any suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and deaths from the disease before the Department of Health (DOH) or concerned local government units make their own announcements.
In a department order signed Sunday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said all public and private hospitals and healthcare facilities are “prohibited to report or release information related to any suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths prior to the reporting of such by first, the Department of Health, and second, the concerned local government unit.”
Hospitals and other facilities, however, are allowed to report COVID-19 cases and deaths on their official social media page after the information is released through press briefings and various DOH channels.
All health institutions were also encouraged to report any circulating unverified reports, false news, and unauthorized release of information to the DOH-COVID-19 emergency operations center.
Moreover, the unauthorized release of information, including unverified reports, “may be grounds for administrative and disciplinary sanctions against any erring hospital and/or employees.”
Meanwhile, 14 foreign countries have been tagged as high COVID-19-risk.
In a separate department memorandum, the DOH listed South Korea, Singapore, Australia, China, Malaysia, Japan, Spain, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, and the United States of America as high COVID-19-risk countries.
As of Monday afternoon, confirmed COVID-19 cases are at 140 while 12 deaths have been recorded in the Philippines.