AS the Philippines registered its first Covid-19 community transmission through the #5 and #6 (a couple) confirmed cases, the Department of Health (DOH) on March 7 raised Code Red sub-level 1.
The DOH secretary, Dr. Francisco Duque III, who issued the Code Red alert, also recommended to President Rodrigo R. Duterte the proclamation of public health emergency.
Duterte approved the DOH recommendation, later proclaiming a national public health emergency.
At the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), one executive explained Code Red.
By Dr. Dimapuno Alonto Datu-Ramos, Jr., NCMF spokesman, director of Bureau of Exernal Relations (NCMF-BER). He is a medical practitioner.
With Code Red, the DOH has recommended to the Office of the President for the declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency which will facilitate mobilization of resources, ease processes, including procurement of critical logistics and supplies, and intensifying reporting.
At this stage of localized transmission, intensified contact tracing and home quarantine of close contacts of confirmed cases, improved hospital preparedness, enhanced Severe Acute Respiratory Illness surveillance, and activation of other laboratories outside of RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) to increase capacity to diagnose are now being implemented.
“This declaration is a signal to all concerned agencies, Local Government Units and health care providers to be ready to implement planned response measures. We are continuously reminding everyone to practice personal protective measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing, and proper cough etiquette.
“Avoid unnecessary travel and postpone mass gatherings, as well. It is our individual responsibility to protect ourselves and the people around us. Only through collective action in our communities will we be able to limit the spread of the virus,” the Health Chief reminded.
However, once there is sustained community transmission — or an increasing number of local cases whose links cannot be established — the strategy will be shifted from an intensive contact tracing to the implementation of community-level quarantine (or lockdown), and/or possibly, suspension of work or school. These will be implemented in municipal, city, or provincial scale as may be warranted. Augmentation of health staff from unaffected areas and uniformed personnel will also be facilitated. (via Facebook)