Philippines hospitals on verge of collapse: Amnesty

Bangkok, Apr 26 (EFE).- Rights organization Amnesty International said Monday that hospitals in Manila and neighboring provinces are on the verge of collapse due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 infections in the Philippines, the second most affected country in Southeast Asia.

In a statement, Amnesty said authorities have not acted adequately to curb Covid-19, which has caused the saturation of hospitals, while accusing them of taking advantage of the pandemic to persecute human rights activists.

“It is heartbreaking to see dozens of ambulances and private vehicles waiting outside hospitals. Inside are Covid-19 patients along with their families, some dying while waiting for treatment,” said Emerlynne Gil, Amnesty’s regional deputy director.

“Others are taken to different medical centers miles away, where they are not treated due to the lack of health care capacity,” said Gil, who added that it is the poorest who are most excluded from the health system.

The Philippines has accumulated close to 1 million Covid-19 infections and more than 16,700 deaths since the start of the pandemic, despite having imposed one of the longest and harshest confinements in the world.

Amnesty said that while in October there were some 2,000 or 3,000 cases a day, the recent wave that began in March had caused up to 15,000 infections on Apr. 3, although these had dropped to about 8,000 a day.

The Amnesty official said authorities have also neglected the safety of health workers, who lack sufficient personal protective equipment and are not paid for the overtime, travel or food expenses they should receive.

At least 80 health workers have died due to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic in the Philippines.

Amnesty also accused President Rodrigo Duterte’s government of slow financial aid distribution to the poorest and even of increasing attacks against human rights defenders, whom they accuse of being leftists.

Some of these activists have been killed during raids carried out by security forces.

In this sense, the Alliance of Health Workers expressed its alarm at being included in the black list of the governmental National Force for the End of the Communist Armed Conflict after requesting greater help from the government in the face of the pandemic. EFE


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