Cebu City will be given “first priority” in the distribution of medical equipment and other supplies needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Malacañang said Monday.
More health workers and contract tracers will also be hired to boost the country’s frontliners in battle against the disease, according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
Roque made the remarks in the wake of reports that Cebu’s health facilities and personnel were getting overwhelmed with the rising number of coronavirus cases.
The government has retained the enhanced community quarantine status in Cebu City until July 15 following the surge in coronavirus cases and high critical care use rate. The city has recorded more than 6,000 cases of infections.
“Sa kakulangan sa parehong pribado at pampublikong ospital, nag-ha-hire na ang DOH (Department of Health). They have resorted to emergency hiring para maibsan ang kakulangan (On the shortage of personnel in both private and public hospitals, the DOH is hiring. They have resorted to emergency hiring of personnel to ease the shortage),” Roque said during a Palace press briefing Monday.
“Pagdating sa PPE, ventilators, kung ano kinakailangan nila, first priroity ngayon ang Cebu (When it comes to PPEs, ventilators, and other things they need, Cebu will now get first priority),” he added.
Roque has appealed for patience and understanding as the government moves to augment health resources and supplies especially in Cebu City.
On calls to grant higher pay for health workers in Cebu, Roque noted that the local government of Cebu has provide subsidies for their health workers due to the coronavirus problem in their area.
He said the government also plans to get more personnel to serve as contact tracers under the proposed Bayanihan II law.
“Magbibigay tayo ng mas malaking pondo at mas maraming pang contact tracers. Kaunting pasensya lang po (We will give a bigger budget and we will hire more contact tracers. Have a little patience),” he added.
As of July 5, the country has reordered 44,254 cases of coronavirus with 11,942 recoveries and 1,297 deaths.
Except for Cebu City which is under strict lockdown, the rest of the country is either on general community quarantine (GCQ) or modified community quarantine (MGCQ) to curb the outbreak while allowing the further reopening of the economy.