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Fort Magsaysay eyed as quarantine area for Ebola patients

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City, Philippines – This sprawling military camp is being eyed by local officials in Nueva Ecija as a quarantine area for people infected with the Ebola virus and other communicable diseases such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Fort Magsaysay


Gov. Aurelio Umali told a meeting of local police and disaster officials that a portion of the military reservation would be an ideal place for setting up isolation facilities for Ebola-afflicted patients instead of hospitals since there are already soldiers on standby to provide the necessary assistance in case of incidence of infection.

While maintaining that the country remains Ebola-free, Umali said the province should always be prepared in case the virus enters the country.

Umali said he can allocate a portion of his confidential funds to finance the construction of the quarantine area or isolation facility within the military camp.

“We can have a memorandum of understanding with the military leadership on this plan to establish a quarantine area,” he said.

Umali expressed belief that establishing a quarantine area inside the camp would be a lot better than putting patients in hospitals. “In the hospital, the patients are susceptible and you increase the chance of an outbreak,” he said.
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He was referring to the move of health officials in Central Luzon to prepare three major hospitals in the region as isolation facilities for Ebola patients.

In December last year, regional epidemiologist Jessie Fantone said the three hospitals reserved as isolation facilities are the Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center (PJGMRMC) in Cabanatuan City, the Bataan General Hospital and the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in Pampanga.

Huber Lapuz, PJGMRMC director who was present during a briefing presided over by Umali, said that the province needs a quarantine area outside of the PJGMRMC.

Umali said his province would also soon come up with an operational manual for emergencies, including those related to health issues. He added there would also be barangay profiling.

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