The government is planning to hire 10,000 medical professionals to beef up the workforce battling the coronavirus outbreak in the front lines.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the health workers will be recruited from places outside Metro Manila or those regions with low incidence of coronavirus cases.
“The Chief Executive approved the hiring of additional healthcare workers to augment the current workforce, including the hiring of 10,000 medical professionals and the calling to active duty and enlistment to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” he said.
Roque said the government has also committed to provide extra benefits to health workers, including risk allowance, P15,000 for those who get infected with coronavirus, life insurance, free transportation and accommodation as well as free and frequent testing.
The latest package of benefits for health workers is part of the government’s action plan after the medical community called for a timeout as well as tougher measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The frontliners have warned that the country’s health system has been overwhelmed by the surge in coronavirus cases.
Acting on the appeal of the medical frontliners, President Duterte agreed to reimpose the stricter lockdown in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces from August 4 to 18. Duterte said he recognizes the health workers are tired but urged them not to lose hope, adding the nation needed them during the coronavirus emergency.
During the MECQ period, Roque said the government would step up testing, tracing and treatment efforts to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus.
He also appealed to the public to observe the health measures such as wearing of masks and safe distancing to avoid getting infected. He said the public must try to beat the latest University of the Philippines (UP) projection of 220,000 cases by the end of August.
“Stay at home, wash your hands, wear your mask, observe social distancing. Tumawag po sa barangay at sa local government kung kayo’y asymptomatic at mild at magpahatid po kayo sa ating isolation centers (Call the barangays and local government units if you’re asymptomatic and mild and they will bring you to the isolation centers),” he said.
“Gawin po natin ang lahat para po huwag umabot ng 220,000 ang mga kaso ng COVID19 matapos po ang Agosto (Let’s do everything to avoid the 220,000 COVID-19 cases before the end of August),” he said.
As of August 3, the country’s cases of coronavirus soared to 106,330 with 2,104 deaths and 65,821 recoveries.