A former president of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) became the fourth frontline doctor to succumb to COVID-19, even as six more doctors from the Philippine Heart Center tested positive for the highly infectious coronavirus disease on Tuesday.
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Cardiologist Raul Jara died early Tuesday, the PHA announced on Facebook, describing him as “one of the great pillars of cardiology.”
“He was a great father, teacher, mentor, poet, author, singer, colleague, friend. One who has spent his life teaching. One who never got tired to impart knowledge and wisdom. One who made you sweat as he bombards you with questions but would suddenly make you feel at ease as he breaks into a smile,” the group said.
Over the weekend, the group also mourned the loss of cardiologist Israel Bactol, 34, along with two other doctors — anesthesiologist Gregorio Macasaet III of Manila Doctors Hospital, and oncologist Rose Pulido of the San Juan de Dios Hospital — who were on the front line in the battle against the pandemic, have also died.
READ: Palace mourns passing of 3 doctors due to COVID
At least 10 other doctors fallen ill, with some suffering from the severe form of the disease and four being treated at the Heart Center.
Doctor Joel Abanilla, PHC executive director, said he was hopeful that the four doctors will recover soon and described them as “relatively well.” as the hospital is now conducting contact tracing among patients and other people who may have had contact with the sick doctors.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the doctors who died while performing their duties are heroes.
Recognizing the sacrifices being made made by the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers in the fight to stop Covid-19, the Senate on Monday included in the national emergency bill a provision that will provide compensation for healthcare workers who get infected or, worse, die from the disease.
In other developments:
• A party-list legislator has tapped several UV Express vans to provide free transportation for health care workers in the fight against the dreaded COVID-19 virus.
Rep. Ronnie Ong of Ang Probinsyano party-list made the move in anticipation of a prolonged enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces.
Ong said this initiative “will not only make life easier for doctors and medical staff who have to walk for hours to go to work because of the unavailability of public transport but it would also provide livelihood for the hundreds of UV Express drivers who were economically dislocated because of the suspension of all public transport.”
“We decided to tap on UV express vans to augment the current transport support for health workers. This is also a way to help drivers who have no current source of income due to the enhance community quarantine, “ Ong, vice chairman of the House appropriations committee, said.
• Two more routes were added to the free shuttle service for health workers in Metro Manila, with a total of 16 routes as of Tuesday on the second week of the enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon.
“From the three initial routes since the program began on 18 March 2020, it now has 16 routes. This means more health workers will be assisted by the department’s initiative,” the Department of Transportation said in a Facebook post.
According to the DOTr, the 15th route would have its pickup and transfer points at the SLEX Sucat Exit and Baclaran Market.
It will cater to health workers who would need to be dropped off or picked up at the Medical Center-Parañaque, Unihealth-Parañaque Hospital and Medical Center, Olivarez General Hospital, The Premier Medical Center, Pasay City General Hospital, Adventist Medical Center, and the Philippine General Hospital.
The 16th route, meanwhile, will have its pickup and transfer points at SM City San Mateo, the BFCT East Metro Transport Terminal along Marcos Highway, and Robinson’s Galleria.
The route would pass through the San Mateo Medical Center, St. Vincent Hospital, Immaculate Conception Hospital, Marikina Valley Medical Center, Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, St. Anthony Medical Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, and The Medical City in Ortigas.
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