Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel on Sunday has urged the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to come up with a new template for emergency evacuation centers that were equipped to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This, as the country has entered the typhoon season.
“We would urge the NDRRMC, along with the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force, to set the standards and guidelines for the new evacuation centers that hopefully will be resistant to the highly contagious respiratory disease,” Pimentel said in a statement Sunday.
“We certainly don’t want the centers to become super-spreaders of COVID-19, in the event that local governments have to move out communities threatened by storm surges or flooding,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said the temporary shelters the country used before the COVID-19 pandemic, like school buildings and gymnasiums with sufficient precautions in place, will no longer work given the threat of the novel coronavirus.
He said the new virus-resistant evacuation centers needed to be less congested so that physical distancing may be practiced between makeshift beds, and there needed to be segregated areas for the elderly and those with health conditions.
“We also expect the centers to have temperature scans, ample handwashing facilities and personal hygiene provisions, apart from ready supplies of face masks,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel hoped that the evacuation centers were regularly disinfected, had access to personal protective equipment, allow for the “contactless” distribution of food packs, and were manned by first responders who could immediately spot suspected COVID-19 symptoms among evacuees./Stacy Ang