As the Philippines battles the COVID-19 pandemic, millions are reeling from the destruction caused by Super Typhoon Rolly while preparing for the possible onslaught of another storm, Siony.
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With tens of thousands forced to evacuate during typhoon season, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reminded Filipinos and local government units to keep in mind minimum health standards to stay clear of the virus. "Kailangan po talaga sundin natin ang minimum health standards," Duque said during the government's first post-disaster briefing on Tuesday following the onslaught of Rolly.
Here are reminders from the Department of Health on how local government units can protect their people from COVID-19 during typhoon season:
- Assign safety officers in evacuation centers to ensure the observance of minimum health standards.
- Screen evacuees for symptoms of COVID-19 and exposure to COVID-19 cases.
- Isolate probable and suspect COVID-19 cases.
- Assign a separate classroom or evacuation area for individuals at high-risk of COVID-19 such as the elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions, pregnant women, and children.
- For evacuees with symptoms of COVID-19, place them in a treatment facility or an isolated area.
- Ensure proper ventilation in evacuation centers.
- Provide separate tents or classrooms to families.
Evacuees are advised by the health department to do the following:
- Wear face masks at all times especially in evacuation centers.
- Observe physical distancing of at least one meter from other evacuees.
- Avoid mingling with other evacuees.
- Consult a doctor when you feel symptoms of COVID-19.
- Avoid wading in floodwaters. If this cannot be avoided, wear protective equipment such as rain boots.
- Go to the nearest health center for post-exposure antibiotic or prophylaxis after wading in floodwaters to avoid leptospirosis infection.
- Boil drinking water for at least three minutes to ensure its safety. Eat clean food.
Duque also reminded LGUs that disaster responders are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing as long as they do not exhibit symptoms of the disease and have no history of contact with an infected person.