Gov’t may expropriate hotels to serve as temporary health facilities amid soaring COVID-19 cases— Duterte

Published August 3, 2020, 1:44 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The government may expropriate hotels to serve as temporary health facilities amid the country’s soaring cases of coronavirus, President Duterte announced Sunday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on August 2, 2020. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The President admitted that he could convert some hotels to accommodate coronavirus patients in case the country’s hospital beds run out.

“Nobody expected that thousands will get sick on a single day. That is a a matter of fact, almost a preparation for a war,” Duterte said during his televised address Sunday. 

“Kung gusto mo talaga na prepared tayo, maski magtayo ako ng 10 hospitals bukas, kunin ko mga hotels, expropriate ko, mga 100,000 kung magkasakit. But I will do that. Pag wala na, there is no time to set up buildings, pag wala na, I will expropriate hotels para kung wala na talagang space (If you want us to be prepared, even I build 10 hospitals tomorrow, I can get the hotels. I will expropriate them if 100,000 get infected. But I will do that. If there is no time to set up buildings, I will expropriate hotels if there really is no more space),” he said.

To augment the health workforce, the President said the government may tap government personnel and reservists to serve in the coronavirus fight.

The President disclosed the latest government plans about the country’s health care facilities shortly after approving the proposal of the Cabinet to reimpose modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces to stem the spread of the disease.

The country’s cases have surged past the 100,000 mark as the hospital bed capacity particularly in Metro Manila has reportedly risen to danger level. 

Based on the latest Department of Health data, 87 precent of the 1,600 isolation beds in Metro Manila hospitals are occupied while 79 percent of 3,600 isolation beds are in use. At least 75 percent of the 524 intensive care unit beds are occupied.

The government earlier directed public hospitals in Metro Manila and Calabarzon to increase their hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 up to 30 to 50 percent. Private hospitals have also been encouraged to increase their hospital beds dedicated to COVID-19 up to 20 to 30 percent.

 
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