First batch of ₱1.8B-worth of PPEs now in PH

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Around 15,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) recently purchased by the Department of Health have arrived in the country, a health official said Wednesday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 1) — Around 15,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) recently purchased by the Department of Health have arrived in the country, a health official said Wednesday.

The delivery serves as the first shipment of the one million sets of PPE worth ₱1.8 billion bought by the department for medical frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

Health Spokesperson Ma. Rosario Vergeire said the first batch of PPEs is currently at the warehouse of the Office of Civil Defense.

Kasulukuyang iniinspek ang ating mga PPEs bago ipadala sa mga nangangailangang ospital,” she said in an online briefing.

[Translation: We are currently inspecting the PPEs before we can send them to hospitals in need.]

The PPEs will then be distributed to the East Avenue Medical Center, the San Lazaro Hospital, the Lung Center of the Philippines, the Philippine General Hospital, the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center.

Vergeire assured the public that the sets are complete, with N95 masks, surgical masks, shoe covers, overalls, head covers, goggles and surgical gowns.

The remaining 985,000 sets will arrive starting on April 6 until April 24, the DOH said in a later statement.

"The complete PPE set ensures that our health workers are duly protected while providing care for our COVID-19 patients,” said the agency.

The lack of protective gear for health workers has been blamed for the detrimental losses in the country's battle against COVID-19. The Philippine Medical Association said 17 doctors have died manning the frontlines, asserting that the deaths could have been prevented had there been enough PPEs.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte saluted health workers who have lost their lives in fighting the pandemic. He said they were “lucky” to have died serving the country.