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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the national government to seriously consider the construction of field hospitals to augment and increase the capacity of hospitals amid the growing number of coronavirus infections in the country.

“Most hospitals now have reached full capacity of their COVID-19 dedicated beds. We cannot just sit back and remain idle while COVID-19 cases continue to spread throughout the country,” said Gatchalian in a statement.

Gatchalian stressed that the construction of makeshift hospital facilities and not reverting back to stricter quarantine protocols is the key to prevent the COVID pandemic from further spreading.

“We’ve practically done everything by the book except for the option of having makeshift hospitals strictly dedicated to COVID-19 positive cases, for those with mild to severe cases,” said Gatchalian.

“This is one strategy that I’ve seen in different countries with COVID-19 success stories, which I haven’t seen done here in the country,” he added.

Gatchalian warned that reverting back to MECQ or ECQ protocol is a “very painful methodology” and he suggested that it’s better to address the health system so that the existing medical facilities will not be overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases.

“Looking at socioeconomic numbers such as hunger, unemployment, business – the country’s economy will be put in a dire situation if we go back to stricter quarantine rules. Marami tayong mga kababayan who will regress to poverty,” he stressed.

He noted that the number of COVID-19 cases already breached the 85,000 mark.

Gatchalian said he had broached the idea of field hospitals to the National Task Force (NTF), COVID-19 chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. and discussed the feasibility of putting up field hospitals in key areas to contain cases of cross-contamination.

“Lahat ng World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations ginagawa na natin, pati ang National Task Force ginagawa na rin ang lahat. We just have to prepare for the worst dahil ginawa naman nila ang lahat ng nasa WHO playbook,” he said.

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