Press Release
November 13, 2020

Hontiveros to DOH, DILG: Provide free face masks, alcohol in Typhoon Ulysses evacuation centers to prevent COVID 'superspreading'

Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to provide free face masks and alcohol at evacuation centers to help protect the survivors of Typhoon Ulysses from COVID-19. She said that the agencies should ensure functional sanitary facilities in the centers as well, as a crucial compliance to health protocols.

"Kung akala natin malala na ang sitwasyon ngayon, mas lalala pa kung magiging COVID superspreader ang mga evacuation centers natin. Para sa karamihan ng nasalanta, lahat na nga ay nawala sa kanila, tapos, magkakasakit pa sila? Tulungan natin silang umiwas sa COVID-19," she added.

Hontiveros cited data from Agap Banta that at least 90 evacuees tested positive for COVID-19 after torrential rains displaced 3,000 people, while in Bangladesh, 276 evacuees tested positive for COVID-19 inside evacuation centers.

"The last thing we need is for our COVID cases to spike again. Hirap na hirap na tayo sa patuloy-tuloy at patong-patong na krisis," she said.

Aside from being 'mindful' of COVID-19 health protocols among the evacuees, Hontiveros asked the DOH to deploy doctors to the evacuation centers to check for symptoms and other health concerns, 'especially for the senior citizens, children and immunocompromised'. The agency, she said, must also ensure quick isolation and referral to hospitals if needed.

"This will help us keep the survivors of Typhoon Ulysses safe while their communities are being restored and rebuilt," she said. "We may have rescued them from dangerous flooding, but let's not put them at risk of a dangerous virus. Everyone's health is our number one priority, so we need everyone's cooperation and participation."

"This is worse than Typhoon Ondoy. Not only did this trigger one of the worst flooding in history, it also happened in the middle of a pandemic. In whatever way the government can make this time easier, we must," she concluded.

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