MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night said he has ordered the Philippine Navy to convert the presidential yacht BRP Ang Pangulo into a quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients.
“Ang Philippine Navy inalert ko, sabi ko ‘yung mga barko ninyo na magaganda, ‘yung Ang Pangulo, ‘yung barko ng Presidente ng Pilipinas—maganda ‘yan ang loob niyan parang hotel,” Duterte said in an unannounced public address.
(I alerted the Philippine Navy, I told them your ships are nice, the Ang Pangulo, the sea craft of the President of the Philippines–that is really nice inside, it’s like a hotel.)
“Sabi ko sa Navy gawaing ospital kaagad pati magtulong sila ng iba,” he added. (I told the Navy to make it into a hospital and help the others.)
The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases earlier announced it is looking for maritime vessels that can serve as floating quarantine centers for COVID-19 patients.
The government is converting these massive conversion centers and sports facilities into isolation sites as hospitals and health care centers struggle to accommodate more COVID-19 patients.
Other facilities being eyed as COVID-19 centers are the PhilSports Arena in Pasig, FilInvest Tent in Alabang, Duty Free Philippines in Parañaque, Amoranto Sports Complex in Quezon City, and the open areas of the Quezon Memorial Circle.
The conversion of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Forum Halls, the World Trade Center (WTC), and the Rizal Memorial Coliseum into isolation sites have already started and are set to be completed by April 12.
As of April 3, the health department said there are 3,018 COVID-19 positive persons in the country, with the death toll reaching 136.
Edited by JPV
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