Kuala Lumpur/Manila, 26 April – Record COVID-19 surges across the Philippines have placed hospitals under siege as total Coronavirus infections pass 1 million. Red Cross is urgently setting up field hospitals, quarantine facilities and scaling up existing testing laboratories, public information campaigns and relief activities.
As hospitals reach capacity in some areas, Philippine Red Cross has set up emergency field hospital tents as extension wards for COVID-19 patients with moderate symptoms, freeing up beds for very sick people. The tents are pitched in the hospital grounds, so patients have access to doctors and medical care. Volunteer medics are providing health and other care to patients.
Unused classrooms and buildings have been urgently converted by Philippine Red Cross to serve as quarantine facilities to care for people who have contracted COVID-19 with mild symptoms until they can safely return to their homes. These new health facilities are staffed with teams of health volunteers and necessary medical equipment.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon said:
“Urgent extra medical care is a matter of life and death as this pandemic sets alarming new records. Our volunteers are working day and night, but we urgently need more medical volunteers to assist COVID-19 patients in emergency field hospitals and quarantine facilities.
“This is a plea to the people of the Philippines. We must bring this virus under control. We are seeking medical volunteers to also help speed up delivery of vaccines to the most at-risk groups, including migrant workers and older people.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 4.9 million Swiss francs from its Global Emergency Appeal to support the Philippine Red Cross as it intensifies tracing, testing and treatment of people with COVID-19.
Since early in the pandemic, the Philippine Red Cross has helped ease the social and economic burden by providing cash transfers to thousands of families, along with food packs and hot meals. Over 2.5 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted and millions of people reached with life-saving information. Red Cross is aiming to vaccinate 1 million most at-risk people.
Paula Fitzgerald, Head of IFRC’s Philippines Delegation said:
“Extraordinary events require extraordinary and urgent action to save lives as this disease continues to spread out of control. Every effort needs to be made to care for the sick, contain this huge COVID-19 surge and ramp up life-saving vaccines for vulnerable people in the coming days and weeks. Together, we will get through this.”
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.