“Taal outbreak, floods could affect the response to Covid”


THE Taal volcano eruption and the start of the typhoon season could impact the country’s Covid-19 response efforts, according to the Department of Health (DoH).

When natural disasters occur, people seek refuge at evacuation sites, which increases the risk of infection, Health Secretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday during a media forum.

Dozens of families have fled their homes after the Taal volcano spat out ash and gas last week. Flash floods from rainfall have also forced residents to stay in evacuation centers.

The DoH’s regional health emergency and management units as well as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) have drawn up plans to ensure evacuees are protected from Covid-19 infection, Vergeire said.

There should only be one family in one classroom if the evacuation site is a school. If that is not possible, there should be a tent for every family, she said.

The department also provides face masks, personal protective equipment and antigen test kits, as well as additional allocations of Covid-19 vaccines for evacuees, Vergeire said.

Dr. Voltaire Guadalupe, DoH Region 4A Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Health Outcomes Manager, said it provided P 1.7 million worth of drugs and non-medical supplies. The DoH Central Office has meanwhile provided logistics material worth 1,622 million pesos.

The NDRRMC also distributed 2,400 rapid antigen test kits to evacuation centers in Agoncillo and Laurel, Batangas.

Covid-19 vaccine allocations for these cities will also be increased.

Guadalupe said no case of Covid-19 had been reported at the evacuation centers in Agoncillo and Laurel.


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