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Manila hospitals start refusing admission to Covid-19 patients

Five major healthcare facilities in the Philippine capital say they are unable to adequately deal with the infected

Manila hospitals start refusing admission to Covid-19 patients

City workers and firemen disinfect a street as a precautionary measure against Covid-19 in Manila’s Quezon City. (Photo: AFP)

Published: March 25, 2020 06:57 AM GMT

Updated: March 25, 2020 07:09 AM GMT

At least five major hospitals in the Philippine capital Manila have said they are full and can no longer offer the required degree of care and attention to any additional Covid-19 patients.  

These top hospitals are considered well equipped in the Philippines. They are St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, De Los Santos Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Taguig, The Medical City, Makati Medical Center and the Philippine Heart Center.

Many fear other private medical facilities will also refuse further admissions due to a lack of isolation rooms and ventilators.

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“Both hospitals [St. Luke’s in Quezon City and St. Luke’s in Taguig] have already exceeded maximum capacity and admitting more Covid-19 patients will seriously impact the hospital’s ability to deliver the critical level of care and attention patients need at this time,” a spokesman for St. Luke's Medical Center said.

“We are also treating non-Covid patients on other floors and their health conditions cannot be compromised.”

The Medical City announced that its workforce was overstretched as 137 of them were in quarantine due to Covid-19.

“Unless we are able to move the new patients to other hospitals, our healthcare delivery system is going to break down,” it said in a statement.

The Philippine Heart Center said admitting Covid-19 patients would likely be detrimental to the health of its heart patients.   

“We are a cardiac center. We have a lot of heart cases. These are all high-risk patients. We hope that they [Covid-19 patients] will have mercy and not go here,” Dr. Joel Abanilla, the hospital’s executive director, said in a radio interview.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act granting him additional powers in the battle to defeat Covid-19.

The law allows Duterte to give 5,000 to 8,000 pesos (US$100-160) in emergency cash aid to 18 million low-income families, provide a special risk allowance on top of hazard pay for public health workers and pay 1 million pesos in compensation to families of health workers who die of Covid-19.

The Bayanihan Act also allows the president to “direct the operations of private hospitals and healthcare facilities as well as to procure supplies and services for quarantine centers and medical facilities.”

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, now prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will lead Catholics in praying the rosary at 9pm (Philippines time) today from Rome.

Praying the rosary will take place every Wednesday evening to bring spiritual nourishment to all Catholics during the Covid-19 crisis.


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