Philippines to update COVID-19 strategy as healthcare workers seek ‘time out’

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FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) maintain social distancing while queuing to catch a train in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 21, 2020. REUTERS / Eloisa Lopez

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines health department on Sunday promised to update its COVID-19 game plan within a week and has sought to bolster health workers in the capital Manila, where the front lines medical officials call for the revival of strict lockdowns.

The Southeast Asian country reported an additional 4,963 coronavirus infections on Saturday, the biggest one-day jump on record, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 98,232, while its death toll rose to 2,039.

It has the second highest number of coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths in the region, behind Indonesia.

In the biggest call to date for medical experts to contain the virus, 80 groups representing 80,000 doctors and one million nurses said on Saturday the Philippines was losing the fight against the disease and warned of a collapse of the disease. health system because of soaring infections without tighter controls. .

In a statement released following an unscheduled meeting on Saturday night of the government coronavirus task force to address concerns from doctors and nurses, the health ministry said it would come up with a COVID-19 strategy implemented. updated within seven days.

He appealed to provincial health workers and those returning from abroad to help strengthen the frontline workforce in the capital, and enlisted the help of universities and medical groups to hire more doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

The government appears reluctant to revive strict restrictions on movement in the capital, saying there are other ways to control the spread of the disease.

Still, the health department said it supports healthcare workers’ call for a “wait time” and will “proactively lead the implementation of effective localized lockdowns.”

“The battle is not over, and it will not be for a long time,” the department said in a statement. But “we will combine all our efforts to reverse the trend.”

Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Edited by William Mallard

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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