MANILA, May 26 (Mabuhay) –The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it is now working on the allocation of isolation facilities amid the threat of the monkeypox virus which has now spread to at least 12 countries.

“The DOH Field Implementation and Coordination Team and the One Hospital Command Center are working on the specific designation of isolation facilities. The priority now is to ensure compliance with requirements,” the DOH said in a message to reporters.

The Philippines has not yet detected any case of the monkeypox virus, but its number of confirmed cases worldwide has reached 219 outside of countries where it is endemic, said the European Union’s disease agency.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. The virus is less contagious and causes less severe illness compared to smallpox.

Health Undersecretary Abdullah Dumama Jr. on Monday said the country has adopted a four-door strategy in intensifying border control to prevent the entry of monkeypox virus into the country.

This strategy is divided into four parts: Implementing travel restrictions and bans as a separate and primary level of defense to supplement the currently implemented health protocols; Ensuring safeguards are implemented such as screening, testing, and quarantine at points of entry to lessen the risk of incoming travelers from triggering the local spread of the variants of concerns; Strengthening the implementation of the prevent-detect-isolate-treat-reintegrate strategies to immediately detect and isolate possible COVID-19 cases; and strengthening health and critical capacity and systems versus a surge to ensure proper and timely COVID-19 management and continuity of essential services.

Citing the DOH Department Memorandum No. 2022-0220 Interim Technical Guidelines for the Implementation of Monkeypox Surveillance Screening, Management, and Infection Control, DOH explained that during the activation of Doors 1 and 2 of DOH’s 4-Door Alert System, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) will be designated as the main isolation facility for suspect, probable, and confirmed monkeypox cases.

The regional isolation facilities or hospitals that cater to other international points of entry shall also be designated by the DOH Field Implementation and Coordination Team and One Hospital Command Center.

“All Government hospitals shall prepare an area for isolation and treatment facilities in the event that Doors 3 and 4 are activated. Cases shall be immediately isolated in a private room, preferably with negative air pressure, until signs and symptoms have been resolved,” it added. (MNS)

READ NEXT: Spare civilians, PRRD to ‘friend’ Putin