AFP deploys 32-man medical team to Cebu as COVID-19 cases rise
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has sent a 32-man medical team to Cebu City to augment efforts in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, the AFP said nine doctors, 10 nurses, and medical aides were deployed on June 27 to help in the city’s response against the crisis following the spike of infections there.
Prior to their flight to Cebu, the medical team underwent precautionary swab testing and flu vaccination, according to the AFP.
“We are proud of this team for stepping up in this dangerous but very important mission. This is what it means to be a soldier and we know more than anyone that no danger of disease will stop us from accomplishing our mission,” Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr, AFP’s vice chief of staff, said during the send off ceremony at the Villamor Air Base.
National Task Force-COVID-19 chief Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who was earlier tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to oversee the COVID-19 response in Cebu City, were also present during the send off ceremony.
“You are representing the AFP. Take care of yourself and perform your duties diligently, not only as members of the Armed Forces but also as an individual. This way when all this is over you will have achieved personal fulfillment,” Cimatu said.
For his part, Galvez expressed gratitude to the team for “answering this call to help our health workers who are in the frontlines against the pandemic in Cebu.”
“We know this is difficult but your dedication, strength, and bravery will boost the morale of your fellow health workers,” he added.
The President earlier placed Cebu City under enhanced community quarantine, the government’s most stringent quarantine classification, until the end of June.
Based on data from the Department of Health, Cebu City has registered 4,417 coronavirus cases as of June 26.
According to the AFP, it has already deployed 405 medical personnel in different emergency quarantine facilities across the country.
Over 1500 doctors, nurses, and military medical auxiliary are also deployed in military treatment facilities nationwide, the AFP added.
To date, Philippine health authorities have confirmed over 34,800 COVID-19 cases in the country. Of the number, 9,430 have recovered while 1,236 have died from the disease.
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