To prepare for future health pandemics, the country must have quarantine centers located near a Department of Health-managed public hospital.
This is the gist of filed Senate Bill No. 1259 or the “Mandatory Quarantine Facilities Act of 2020” filed by Senator Bong Go, chair of the Committee on Health and Demography.
It is crucial for every locality in all regions to have its own quarantine sites to accommodate high-risk individuals suspected of having an infectious disease, Go said.
“Let us learn from this COVID-19 experience. Ngayon palang, habang nilalabanan natin ang sakit na COVID-19, i-handa na rin natin ang bansa sa anumang krisis na maaaring dumating,” Go said.
“Nararapat lamang po na maging proactive tayo at umpisahan nang maglatag ng mga measures na magsisiguro sa ating kahandaan sa mga darating pang krisis gaya nito.”
Go cited the World Health Organization guidelines and recommendations in combatting pandemics, where “isolating persons who have or may have been exposed to a serious contagious or infectious disease is a long-established public health strategy in order to prevent transmission.”
“This isolation mechanism should be part of the standard precautions that should be taken to prevent the spread of any infectious disease,” Go stated.
SB 1259 will establish quarantine facilities in every region designed for patients who are suspected to be infected or colonized with epidemiologically important pathogens that can be transmitted airborne or droplet transmission or by physical contact.
The proposed quarantine facilities will be fully equipped to include the needs of individuals who are quarantined, including adequate food, clothing, means of communication and competent medical care.
The locations will be identified by the DOH in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways and local government units.
“Hangga’t wala pong bakunang nadidiskubre sa COVID-19, our fight against it continues. Kaya naman hindi po tayo dapat maging kampante sa paglaban sa virus na ito,” he said.
“Nakita naman po natin na ginagawa ng gobyerno ang lahat para rumesponde sa krisis. Nagtayo agad ng quarantine facilities sa iba’t ibang lugar gamit ang available infrastructure na meron na tayo. Dahil sa bayanihan natin at sa tulong rin ng private sector, nagamit rin ang mga barko para maging floating quarantine vessels, at iba pang mga gusali.”