By Minka Tiangco
The city of Manila is ready, should the national government decide to implement the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, the city mayor said.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the city government has been setting up various facilities that can serve the needs of more coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) patients with the easing of community quarantine guidelines.
“We are ready in any eventuality. Whatever category na ma-place ang Manila (that Manila will be placed under), for that matter,” he told reporters on Thursday.
The city government launched a new quarantine facility for probable and suspect COVID-19 patients at Arellano High School on Thursday.
The isolation facility that can cater to around 40 patients is the latest in a series of facilities being opened by the city government.
So far, isolation facilities have been set up at Delpan Evacuation Center, Araullo High School, Tondo High School, and T. Paez High School. These facilities have a combined capacity of over 200 beds.
The city government is planning to build more at Tondo Sports Complex, Patricia Covered Court, Del Pilar High School, P. Gomez High School, Dapitan Sports Complex, and Bacood Elementary School.
The Manila mayor earlier said this was to prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases during the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or the GCQ. They are aiming to provide up to 500 beds for the city’s probable and suspect COVID-19 patients.
However, Domagoso pointed out that the city has a high recovery rate and a low mortality rate.
As of Wednesday evening, there are now 384 recoveries and 98 deaths in the city, data from the city government showed.
Still, an epidemiological study from researchers of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) showed that local government officials from Manila and Quezon City must increase their efforts in battling COVID-19 to curb the spread of the disease under the GCQ.
The Philippine capital has a total of 1,301 confirmed cases as of Wednesday night. It is the second city in Metro Manila with the highest number of cases, next to Quezon City with 1,682 cases.
The city government is also aiming to increase its testing capacity by building its own COVID-19 testing laboratory at the Sta. Ana Hospital, where the Manila Infectious Disease Control Center (MIDCC) is also located.
Data showed that 9,763 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and 58,268 rapid tests have been conducted for the city’s probable and suspect COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday afternoon.