A 242-BED modular hospital that will handle coronavirus patients is being planned within the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) compound in Mandaluyong City as other medical facilities in the capital continue to be overwhelmed by new positive cases, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). In a statement on Monday, the department said Undersecretary Emil K. Sadain recently met with NCMH chief Noel V. Reyes to discuss preparatory plans for the modular off-site hospital. “About 11 cluster units of makeshift hospital with 242 bed capacity dedicated to the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients can be put up by DPWH and to be managed by NCMH and DoH (Department of Health),” it said. DPWH is also proposing to construct off-site dormitories with 96 beds for the medical professionals who will be assigned at the NCMH facility.  Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar, designated as czar for setting up isolation facilities, said they continue to coordinate with the DoH and government hospitals in Metro Manila on the possible use of vacant spaces for pop-up hospitals.  “Capacity expansion of major hospitals are on-going using prefabricated components to speed up the construction process,” Mr. Villar said.

Meanwhile, the Tourism department lauded the hotel industry’s continued support to the coronavirus response by serving as isolation and quarantine facilities.  As of April 18, the department said there are 21 hotels in Metro Manila and the neighboring provinces within the Calabarzon Region that have been converted into isolation facilities with more than 2,220 rooms. “The DoT (Department of Tourism) is one with the entire tourism industry to help mitigate the effects of this pandemic in any way it can. We are guided by our Bayanihan spirit, which has strengthened us since the on-set of the pandemic, in working together with the private and public sectors towards our nation’s recovery,” Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.  Ms. Puyat also noted that tourism sites Nayong Pilipino and the Rizal Park will be used as vaccination sites through public-private partnership. — Marifi S. Jara