DILG directs LGUs to create nCoV task force

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has advised all local government units (LGUs) to create their respective Corona Virus Task Forces to help contain the spread of the disease in the country now that health authorities have confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus (2019 nCov) entry in the Philippines.

"With the declaration of the World Health Organization of a World Health Emergency, Secretary Eduardo M. Año has directed all LGUs to be on a state of preparedness and take all pro-active steps to stop the spread of this disease. All LGUs nationwide are advised to create their respective task forces to implement DOH protocols and guidelines and extend full cooperation to the DOH and other government agencies to meet the world health emergency," said DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.

He said that the Local Task Force under the direct leadership of the governor or the mayor shall ensure that local health authorities have the necessary equipment and protective gadgets such as masks, goggles, gowns, gloves, etc. The Task Force should also cause the referral and transport of a nCov suspect to a DOH-designated coronavirus-referral center or hospital, in coordination with DOH and police authorities.

Malaya said that local chief executives must also train their respective health workers on nCov prevention, containment, and control, in coordination with the DOH. He also urged LGUs to conduct city and municipality-wide coronavirus prevention, containment, and control information campaigns to educate the public.

"For LGUs hosting international airports like Manila, Cebu, Davao, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, General Santos, Zamboanga, Laoag, and Iloilo, they must immediately coordinate with the Bureau of Immigration and airport authorities for flights coming from nCov-affected countries so that quarantine procedures may be effected to those suspected of possible infection," he added.

The DILG also urged LGUs to fully cooperate with the DOH as they conduct contact-tracing of all individuals that came into contact with the Chinese national that tested positive of nCov yesterday. "The mayor should immediately inform the DOH should there be reasonable basis to place an individual under quarantine. The DOH needs the support of all LGUs in this important matter and local and police authorities should extend all possible assistance in this regard," he said.

LGUs should also post public advisories about the coronavirus as well as precautionary measures that the public can take such as maintaining proper hygiene and regular handwashing. "Local health authorities doing frontline work must exercise extreme vigilance in handling suspected individuals and strictly monitor those possibly infected," he said.