DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire (File photo)


MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) has advised local government units (LGUs) to always check evacuees for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) symptoms and to isolate those with symptoms from the evacuation sites.

“Ang ina-advise natin, bago papasukin sa evacuation site, do the symptoms screening. Lahat ng may sintomas hindi na pwedeng sumama doon, dalhin na doon sa (Our advice is for LGUs to do the symptoms screening before they people enter the evacuation sites. All those with symptoms cannot get in, bring them to the quarantine facility,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media forum.

Vergeire was reacting to the possibility that reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test or rapid test for Covid-19 may not be available during crisis situation.

Apart from Covid-19 quarantine facilities, Vergeire stressed that LGUS should have separate facilities for evacuation sites with handwashing areas especially during typhoons.

She added public minimum health standards -- physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and frequent handwashing -- must be observed by the evacuees.

"Kung hindi mangyari ‘yung physical distance, sa dami siguro minsan, talagang naka mask (If physical distancing can't be observed, may be because there are too many evacuees, wearing of masks) and frequent handwashing should be emphasized,” Vergeire said.

In Bicol Region, local disaster councils have evacuated over 18,000 families due to Typhoon Quinta but majority of them have already returned to their respective communities as the weather condition improved on Monday, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said.

In its 5 p.m. weather bulletin on Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said Quinta slightly intensified as it moves west-northwestward over the West Philippine Sea.

PAGASA said Quinta will still bring moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, northern Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands, Calabarzon, Aurora, and Isabela from Monday until Tuesday.

The typhoon is forecast to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday.

PAGASA said another low pressure area may enter the PAR on Wednesday or Thursday “but is less likely to develop into tropical depression in the next 48 hours.” (PNA)