More than 1,000 individuals from the National Capital Region (NCR) and Calabarzon were put in isolation facilities in the past two weeks, National Policy Against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Vivencio Dizon said Thursday.
Dizon also announced that government will increase the number of isolation facilities for individuals infected with the coronavirus disease, as Metro Manila and four other provinces were again placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ.
Meanwhile, Dizon, who is also the country's testing czar, declined to comment on an international news report naming the Philippines as the next COVID-19 epicenter in Southeast Asia, calling the statement “speculative”.
The national task force, he said, will boost the present 1,700 hotel rooms that serve as isolation facilities to 3,000 this month, he said.
He noted that 1,400 of the current isolation rooms in partner hotels are occupied.
“Our plan for the next two weeks is to further intensify the tracing and isolation. In that way, we will be able to slow down the increase in number of Covid-19 cases,” Dizon said at the launch of the COVID-19 Command Center in Makati City on Thursday.
“This is why we are getting additional isolation facilities under Oplan Kalinga,” Dizon said.
Oplan Kalinga aims to put COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms in isolation facilities to discourage home quarantine and prevent the further spread of the disease in communities.
“The DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) will also open additional beds in We Heal as One centers in Metro Manila and Regions 3 and 4-A (Central Luzon and Calabarzon),” Dizon said.
He said We Heal as One centers have 3,000 beds and the DPWH would double the figure this month.
Serving as We Heal as One centers are the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and Rizal Memorial Stadium at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, the Philippine International Convention Center Forum Halls and the World Trade Center in Pasay City; the Asean Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga; and the National Government Administrative Center in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac.
In the region, Indonesia still has the most number of Covid-19 cases with 116,871 as of Wednesday, 37,530 of which are active cases.
The Philippines had 115,980 cases, of which 47,587 are active cases, as of Wednesday.
Dizon, however, attributed the increase in the number of daily cases to the government’s intensified testing efforts.
The Philippines, he said, has one of the highest numbers of testing activities in the region, conducting more than 30,000 tests per day, more than double Indonesia’s 12,777 tests per day in July.
To date, more than 1.7 million tests had been conducted across the country, Dizon said.