9 Filipino doctors succumb to COVID-19 as hospitals get overwhelmed with cases

Around nine doctors in the Philippines have died due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as hospitals reach full capacity and health workers plea for more protective gear from the virus.
In a report by ABS-CBN, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) has confirmed the death of the ninth doctor to die from the disease, as well as complained about not getting enough protection from frontliners.
Luzon is in its second week of its enhanced community quarantine in the government’s bid to contain the disease. The medical experts, however, said that the health crisis is becoming much worse than anticipated—with many fearing that the death toll is higher than what is being reported.
PMA’s vice president Benito Atienza said that frontliners must be the top priority in terms of testing for COVID-19, and that they must be getting enough protection to aid in the battle against the disease.
“If it were up to me, test the frontliners first and test them again after 7 days. Doctors could be carriers themselves,” ABS-CBN quoted Atienza as saying.
The nine doctors who succumbed to the disease include Dr. Raul Jara, former president of the Philippine Heart Association; Dr. Henry Fernandez, a 77-year-old resident of Bayambang town, who caught the virus from guests who arrived from the US; Dr. Israel Bactol, an Adult Cardiology Fellow-in-training; and Dr. Sally Gatchalian, head of the Philippine Pediatric Society.
The association furthered that testing remains limited in the country today, as testing kits are available only for those with severe symptoms, people aged over 60, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing conditions.
In addition, three hospitals in Metro Manila—St. Luke’s Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, and The Medical City—have announced that they have reached full capacity and they can no longer accept new cases.
On March 25, Makati Medical Center announced that hundreds of its staff will undergo a two-week self-quarantine after suspected exposure, following the diagnosis of Senator Koko Pimentel for COVID-19.

Staff Report

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