MANILA, Philippines — In true Bilis Kilos fashion, the Manila City government, under the leadership of Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, is ramping up preparations for the possible surge of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in the country.
And despite his hectic schedule going to Cebu and Bohol to personally hand-over boxes of medicines, vitamins, generator sets, and cash assistance for those severely affected by Typhoon Odette, Moreno made sure that the City of Manila is in order and prepared for any eventuality.
Just last Saturday, Moreno met with Manila Health Department director Dr. Arnold “Poks” Pangan and the directors of the six city hospitals and Covid-19 Field Hospital to map out the necessary strategies to fight the more infectious Covid variant should it find its way into the capital city.
At present, the country has logged three cases of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant that was first identified in South Africa but also detected in Europe and Asia.
“We have to prepare since Omicron could be worse than Delta. We should have sufficient hospital beds and medicines. Kailangang lalung pabilisin ang vaccination, including opening booster shots for everyone qualified after their second dose,” Moreno said.
Under Mayor Isko’s leadership, the City of Manila has long prepared for the pandemic, including the construction in record 52 days of the Covid-19 Field Hospital in front of the Quirino Grandstand. The 344-bed hospital accepts Covid patients suffering mild to moderate infection.
A man of action, Moreno has also upgraded all district hospitals with modern equipment such as the Sta. Ana Hospital is now the city’s Infectious Disease Control Center complete with isolation wards for Covid patients.
The soon-to-be-opened New Ospital ng Maynila boasts of world-class facilities which are at par with other private hospitals in Metro Manila. The old hospital building, meanwhile, will house the College of Medicine of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Besides the Bagong Ospital ng Maynila and the Sta. Ana Hospital, the other public hospitals in Manila are the Ospital ng Sampaloc, Ospital ng Tondo, Justice Abad Santos Medical Center, and Gat Andres Bonifacio Medical Center. A seventh hospital, the P110-million President Corazon C. Aquino General Hospital is being constructed within the Baseco Compound at Manila’s Port Area.
The City of Manila also has a ready supply of known anti-Covid drugs Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, and just last month, received its first order of 40,000 capsules of the new drug Molnupiravir that is said to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death of Covid patients by 50 percent.
And true to his principle that the City of Manila is open to all Filipinos, Mayor Isko reiterated his earlier announcements that the anti-Covid 19 medicines, and even the services of the city hospitals, are available for free to patients infected by the virus throughout the country.
“Huwag kayong mahihiya sa Lungsod ng Maynila kasi niyayakap namin ang bawat tao sa loob at labas Lungsod ng Maynila. Hangga’t kaya ng supply namin, we can give anti-Covid medicines such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Molnupiravir to patients needing those life-saving drugs. We did it before, we will do it again pag lumala ulit ang Covid situation natin,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aksyon Demokratiko vice presidential candidate Dr. Willie Ong congratulated local officials of San Fabian, Pangasinan for spearheading the vaccination drive of children aged 12 to 17-years-old to protect them from Covid-19.
Ong made the remark as he and Aksyon Demokratiko senatorial candidates Carl Balita and Samira Gutoc visited Barangay Mabilao in San Fabian as part of their “Team Vaccination Drive Payo at Kamustahan” activity held on Monday.
The 58-year-old vice presidential hopeful stressed that in order to take action and help prevent the further spread of Covid-19, vaccination is needed to also protect the community, including children, from the deadly virus.
Vaccines are said to be the best hope to end the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, minors aged 12 to 17-years-old receive their first jab against the coronavirus which forms part of the nationwide pilot rollout of Covid-19 inoculation for this age group.
“Children are very fortunate that they will be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine brand which is considered as one of the best in the world. Yun lang naman, hindi naman delikado po, one to two days lang at sabi nila Carl eh Pfizer ang ibibigay na bakuna sa inyo, napakaganda,” Ong said.
Balita said he was very happy to return to San Fabian town, the birth place of his mother, and be a witness to the inoculation of dozens of children to ensure that they are protected from Covid-19.
“Pfizer ito magandang bakuna kaya pasalamatan ninyo ang local government ninyo for Pfizer, one of the best. Actually, ‘yan ang pangarap ng marami na hindi pa nagkaroon ng Pfizer,” he said.