DILG orders LGUs to create Wuhan coronavirus task forces
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed all local government units (LGUs) to establish their respective task forces to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
This as the Department of Health (DOH) reported the first confirmed case of the deadly respiratory virus in the country and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a world health emergency.
“Secretary Eduardo Año has directed all LGUs to be on a state of preparedness and take all pro-active steps to stop the spread of this disease,” DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said in a statement on Friday.
The task forces will implement DOH protocols and guidelines as well as cooperate with the DOH and other government agencies “to meet the world health emergency.”
Likewise, the task forces, which will be headed by the governor or mayor, shall ensure that local health authorities have the necessary equipment and protective gadgets such as masks, goggles, gowns, gloves, etc.
These should also cause the referral and transport of a suspected novel coronavirus carrier to a DOH-designated coronavirus-referral center or hospital, in coordination with DOH and police authorities.
Malaya said that local chief executives must also train their respective health workers on the prevention, containment, and control, of the new coronavirus, in coordination with the DOH.
He also urged LGUs to conduct city and municipality-wide coronavirus prevention, containment, and control information campaigns to educate the public.
Meanwhile, LGUs with international airports are directed to coordinate with the Bureau of Immigration and airport authorities for flights coming from virus -affected countries so that those suspected of possible infection may undergo quarantine procedures.
DILG also urged LGUs to cooperate with the DOH as they conduct contact-tracing of all individuals that came into contact with the Chinese woman who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
“The mayor should immediately inform the DOH should there be reasonable basis to place an individual under quarantine. The DOH needs the support of all LGUs in this important matter and local and police authorities should extend all possible assistance in this regard,” Malaya said.
He added that LGUs should also post public advisories about the coronavirus as well as precautionary measures that the public can take such as maintaining proper hygiene and regular handwashing.
“Local health authorities doing frontline work must exercise extreme vigilance in handling suspected individuals and strictly monitor those possibly infected,” the DILG official said.
The country’s first confirmed Wuhan coronavirus case is a 38-year-old woman from Wuhan, China, who came to the Philippines on Jan. 21 via Hong Kong.
She is currently isolated in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, said the Department of Health (DOH).
President Rodrigo Duterte has already ordered a temporary ban on Chinese nationals from China’s Hubei province, where Wuhan City — the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak— is located as well as from other parts of China where the spread of the new coronavirus has been reported.
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