Ninoy Aquino Stadium ready to house COVID-19 patients by midweek

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6)— The Ninoy Aquino Stadium inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex will start its operations as a designated quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients by the middle of the week, an official said Monday.

Presidential Adviser for Flagship Projects Vince Dizon told CNN Philippines that the converted sports arena in Manila City will be ready to house COVID-positive patients with mild or no symptoms by Wednesday.

Dizon said the conversion of the facility has already been completed, but operations would have to take a backseat for disinfection.

Persons admitted will have access to power outlets per cubicle, with free WiFi and food also available for both patients and staff. There will also be a nurse call system for each patient.

While quarantine centers prohibit interactions, the facility will feature a visitors' station outside, where families can drop off clothes or pick up laundry.

The stadium is expected to accommodate over a hundred patients. Dizon said the center's operations— along with the ongoing conversions of other quarantine centers— will not only decongest hospitals, but will also contain the spread of the highly-contagious disease.

"The idea is really twofold," Dizon said in an interview with The Source. "This facility, along with the other facilities that are going to be built, is geared towards that— to decongest our hospitals and also to move patients from communities to facilities like these to control the spread."

Other quarantine facilities on the way

Apart from the sports complex, the government has also tapped several other facilities to serve as COVID quarantine centers including the Philippine International Convention Center and the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

As of Monday, the quarantine facility at the PICC is nearly complete, with construction expected to wrap up by Wednesday.

The World Trade Center, which is expected to house around 500 patients, is likewise almost halfway done.

"Between these three facilities, we're actually looking at close to a thousand beds by the end of this week," Dizon added.

Meanwhile, government buildings in New Clark City in Tarlac have also already been refurbished and converted into COVID hospitals that can house 1,000 patients.

The Philippine Arena in Bulacan— the world's largest indoor arena— will also be transformed into a "mega quarantine facility" for suspected COVID-19 patients from Central Luzon.

The Philippines has recorded 3,246 cases of the infectious disease, as of the Health Department's latest record. Of this number, 152 have died while 64 have recovered.