By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) is offering free accommodation, food, and bus rides to its health workers who are at the frontlines of the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a statement released on Wednesday, UST said nurses and nurse aides of the UST Hospital can stay at the Domus Mariae hotel and dormitory starting Thursday morning.
Free food will also be given to those who will stay at the accommodation.
For those who prefer to go home after their duty, UST will also provide bus transportation.
Earlier, the UST Hospital management confirmed that one of two coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) patients admitted there has been discharged and is clinically well.
“We are heartened by the community who have shown support and encouragement in this ordeal,” the UST Hospital management said in a statement released Tuesday.
“In this time of fear and uncertainty, these acts of courage, selfless bravery, and heroism of the members of the Team have emerged as the greatest acts of random kindness that can change the course of this crisis.”
The management also lamented the struggles that health workers went through in the past few weeks. This includes the times that the hospital was understaffed after a number of health workers, who had contact with a COVID-19 patient, put themselves under self-quarantine.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a massive impact to the healthcare system, even more so in the University of Santo Tomas Hospital, which operates both a private division and a clinical division for indigent patients,” they said.
“The hospital prepared for this at the start of 2020, with protocols instituted since early January, close coordination with the Department of Health, and contingencies set in place for the worst case scenario.”
Mass transportation was banned after President Duterte placed Luzon under enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12 over the COVID-19 threat.
However, work involved in food and medicine production, and other basic necessities, was not suspended. This left thousands of health workers with no choice but to be absent for work or walk long distances from their residence to their workplace.
READ MORE: Entire Luzon under quarantine