Gov’t urged to revisit COVID-19 guidelines, prioritize health care workers

Published January 15, 2022, 6:59 PM

by Charie Mae F. Abarca

A health reform advocate urged the national government to revisit its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) guidelines and alert level system amid the surge of infections among health care workers.


Former National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Anthony “Tony” Leachon on Saturday, Jan. 15, said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) should revisit its guidelines and alert level system.

Leachon reiterated that during the Omicron surge in the country, healthcare workers caring for patients in emergency rooms could get infected. This, according to Leachon, may eventually lead to the lack of manpower amid the influx of COVID-19 patient admissions.

“Since [Omicron] is most transmissible, [health care workers] would contract the virus. It can cause burnout syndrome, demotivation, and eventually they will actually quit their job if the work is very difficult,” said Leachon in an interview with ANC Philippines.

Even if hospitals are “not yet full” in terms of the intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, Leachon said that it is already evident that health care workers are now getting sick, overworked, and overburdened.

To prevent this from happening, the health reform advocate suggested that the government should maximize the services of health clerks, medical students, and interns to cater for mild COVID-19 patients under the supervision of a senior physician.

He likewise urged the IATF to revisit its guidelines and alert level system and focus on the needs of the country’s health care workers instead.

“The guidelines should actually focus on the true heroes of this pandemic and that is the frontliners,” Leachon said.