Another doctor has died of COVID-19, bringing fatalities among physicians to at least 17, the Philippine Medical Association said Monday.
News of the death of Dr. Mary Grace Lim, 40, came as the government said all public health workers on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19 are entitled to a special risk allowance (SRA) of up to 25 percent of their monthly basic pay. In a Facebook post Monday, the Asian Hospital and Medical Center announced Lim’s death.“Sorrow befalls upon our hospital as we have lost one of our own in the fight against this pandemic, Dr. Mary Grace Lim,” the Facebook post said.“Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the family of our fallen hero. We have lost a remarkable doctor, a good friend, and a mentor to our budding health care workers. Asian Hospital, especially the Department of Emergency Medicine and Quality
Management Department may have lost a great frontliner to COVID-19, but as one family, we promise her and our countrymen, now more than ever, that we will remain unfazed and will keep on fighting to finally put an end to this pandemic,” the post also said.
READ: COVID-19 claims 15th doctor hero
On Saturday, five doctors at Sampaloc Hospital in Manila tested positive for COVID-19.
The Department of Health reported on Monday 414 new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) positive cases in the Philippines, bringing the total to 3,660.
The DOH also reported 11 new deaths, which brings the total to 163.
Nine new recoveries were reported, bringing the number of recovered COVID-19 patients to 73.
An administrative order signed by President Rodrigo Duterte grants a special risk allowance to public health workers who render work during the period of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
“National government agencies, government-owned or -controlled corporations and LGUs are authorized to grant a one-time COVID-19 SRA, equivalent to a maximum of 25 percent of monthly basic salary/pay, to public health workers who have great exposure to health risks and physical hardships in the line of duty, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the AO said.
Medical, allied medical and other necessary personnel assigned in hospitals and health care facilities who are directly attending to or in contact with COVID-19 patients, persons under investigation or persons under monitoring are covered by the administrative order.
Civilian employees occupying regular, contractual, casual or part-time positions; workers engaged through contract of service or job order; and barangay health workers assigned in hospitals are also covered by the AO.
READ: 2 more doctors join ‘heroes‘
Those who reported for work for three to seven days will get 25 percent of the incentive while the public health employees who worked for 8 to 12 days will receive 50 percent.
Those working 13 to 17 days will get 75 percent of the incentive, while those working 18 days or more are entitled to the full incentive.
The President earlier approved granting hazard pay to government workers who report for work while the Enhanced Community Quarantine over Luzon is in place.
The month-long quarantine, which is in effect until midnight of April 13, aims to limit the movement of people while the government attempts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Department of Justice, meanwhile, backed the enactment by local government units of ordinances prohibiting the discrimination of health workers and patients afflicted with COVID-19.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said since Congress is not in session and national laws take longer to be adopted, it is more expedient if LGUs pass ordinances penalizing acts of discrimination against health care workers and COVID-19 patients.
The Department of Health earlier urged LGUs to implement anti-discrimination ordinances amid reports of harassment against medical workers.
The Manila City government has already implemented a new ordinance prohibiting acts or words that humiliate, harass, or otherwise discriminate against persons infected or under investigation or monitoring for COVID-19, health workers and frontliners, including government personnel rendering emergency frontline work and service workers in the private sector.
Violators stand to face a fine of P5,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.
The call came after several incidents occurred where health workers or those suspected of being COVID carriers were harassed.
For instance, in Candelaria, Quezon, an ambulance driver was injured after getting shot by a man who thought he was transporting COVID-19 patients.
A nurse in Sultan Kudarat was besieged by five people and doused with bleach, injuring his eyes, while a medical technologist in Cagayan de Oro complained that some public vehicle drivers declined to let her board.
Also on Monday, Senator Imee Marcos said garbage collectors, street sweepers, janitors and other workers involved in sanitizing our communities should also be considered frontliners, and be given financial aid.
Marcos added that soldiers, policemen, immigration personnel, couriers and cargo handlers of crucial goods, and drivers of shuttle services for hospital staff should also be recognized.
READ: Another frontline doctor passes on, several colleagues under treatment
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