Barangays told to form health response teams to guard against nCoV

Barangays told to form health response teams to guard against nCoV

Gaea Katreena Cabico ( – February 3, 2020 – 12:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government has ordered the creation of barangay health emergency response teams in light of two confirmed cases of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease in the Philippines.

BHERTs must be composed of an executive officer, a barangay tanod and two barangay health workers—one of them a nurse or a midwife—and will be equipped with surgical gowns, goggles, masks and gloves.

“We have to prepare, God forbid, for the possible eventuality that 2019 nCoV ARD reaches our communities. I, therefore, order our local chief executives to organize BHERTs in all barangays as our effort to be one step ahead of the virus,” Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said.

Año said BHERTs would serve as the “eyes and ears” of the government to ensure their localities are all accounted for and are fully informed about the coronavirus.

Visiting potential nCoV cases’ homes

Part of the BHERT’s mandate is visiting the homes of passengers arriving from nCoV-infected countries within their jurisdiction and requiring them to record daily body temperature in the morning and afternoon, for the next 14 days of confinement, and observe possible novel coronavirus symptoms.

If the emergency response teams observe symptoms, they must “immediately isolate” the possible carrier of coronavirus in a room away from the rest of family members before transferring to an nCoV referral center or hospital.

Family members of suspected nCoV carriers must be also placed on two-week home confinement.

The Philippines reported Sunday the first fatality outside China. The 44-year-old man was from Wuhan—the ground zero of the virus. He died Saturday after his condition rapidly declined.

His companion, a 38-year-old woman from Wuhan, was the Philippines’ first confirmed case. She is recovering in hospital.

The number of confirmed deaths from the novel coronavirus in China climbed to 360, exceeding the country’s death toll from the SARS outbreak.