Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. on Saturday appealed to the Department of Health to allow China to send its doctors to the Philippines amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Locsin disclosed on Twitter that he has asked his counterpart, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, “to send us Chinese doctors.” However, Locsin said the DOH is “blocking their arrival.”
“Don’t piss me off. Let them in,” Locsin said in an all-caps tweet.
He said interpreters will not be a problem, since they can be deployed to hospitals like the Chinese General Hospital and the Metropolitan Medical Center in Manila.
CNN Philippines has reached out to the DOH for comment.
Foreign nationals are temporarily banned from entering the country as the Department of Foreign Affairs stopped issuing visas to all foreigners and canceled existing ones amid the global threat of COVID-19.
The coronavirus outbreak has slowed down in China, where it began in December 2019, particularly in the City or Wuhan. There are now more COVID-19 cases in the United States and Italy than in China.
Worldwide, COVID-19 has killed more than 27,000 people, mostly in Italy. Close to 600,000 people have been infected, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 global tracker.
The Philippines has 803 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 54 deaths and 31 recoveries.
The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. on Thursday said at least nine doctors have succumbed to COVID-19 in the country, and that they were exposed to the virus due to the shortage of protective gear.