DOH studies additional benefits for COVID-hit healthcare workers with mild symptoms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 24) — The Department of Health said Friday it will study the recommendation to give additional assistance to healthcare workers who tested positive for coronavirus disease, but only had mild symptoms.

Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that they do not have the legal authority to provide monetary incentives to medical workers who got mildly ill due to COVID-19.

“We are limited by the law,” Vergeire said in a media forum, referring to Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which grants P100,000 in assistance to medical workers who become critically ill because of COVID-19. The law expired last month, but a measure seeking to extend it is in the pipeline.

“Pinagaaralan ngayon dito sa mga rekomendasyon na ibibigay natin para sa second phase nitong Bayanihan law kung maaari nating isama ang additional incentives, not just for severe and critical,” Vergeire said.

[Translation: We are studying whether we could include the additional incentives for healthcare workers who had mild symptoms in our recommendations for the second phase of the Bayanihan law.]

Under the statute, each family of healthcare workers who succumbed to the disease is entitled to get P1 million. DOH said 32 bereaved families have received the funds so far.

Vergeire added more families could qualify for monetary assistance once the second Bayanihan bill is signed into law.