Gov't agencies told to find hotels, ships to be used as quarantine areas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 31) — The Philippine government has tasked different agencies to find more quarantine facilities — both on land and on sea — to be used during the COVID-19 crisis.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said the Department of Transportation will be the lead agency in looking for maritime vessels that can serve as "floating quarantine centers" that will house potential COVID-19 cases and patients with mild symptoms. The chosen ships have to receive the approval of the Department of Health.

He also said the Tourism Department shall finalize the list of hotels and similar types of establishments. The Bureau of Quarantine will assess the adequacy of these facilities.

Nograles said the Public Works Department has to complete all work to convert the Philippine International Convention Center and World Trade Center in Pasay, the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila into "fully functional" facilities to help decongest hospitals.

The staff of DOH Centers for Health Development, DILG regional offices, and LGU officials will man the quarantine facilities.

Due to overcapacity in hospitals, the Department of Health previously ordered that suspected cases and patients with mild symptoms undergo strict self quarantine instead of being admitted in hospitals.

The Department of Health on Monday recorded 128 new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, bringing the total number of patients to 1,546. It also reported 7 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 78. Those who recovered remain at 42.