(UPDATE 2) Fire hit the Philippine General Hospital on Sunday, forcing one of the country's main COVID-19 facilities to temporarily halt admissions and transfer patients, including babies, to other facilities.
COVID patients in pay rooms were moved to the charity ward and the OB-Gyne emergency room. They were not mixed with non-COVID patients, del Rosario told DZBB radio.
Twelve babies were moved to the Sta. Ana Hospital. Several other patients in pediatric rooms were transferred to private hospitals, he said.
"Ang aming pakiusap muna ngayon ay sarado ang PGH mag-admit ng kahit ano," Del Rosario told dzBB in an interview. "Sana hanggang ngayon lang. So siguro matagal na yung bukas. Sinisigurado lang na makakabalik din ulit yung mga pay patients namin sa kanilang mga rooms."
Authorities declared fire out at 5:41 a.m., Fire Sr. Inspector Hector Agadulin was quoted on DZBB. The blaze was concentrated in the operating room sterilization area.
The fire was raised to third alarm according to University of the Philippines Manila student publication The Manila Collegian. It's the third lowest under a 11-step system that determines how many fire trucks must respond.
Sen. Richard Gordon, who chairs the Philippine Red Cross, said the humanitarian organization deployed six fire trucks with 32 responders to help put out the fire and provide first aid.
"We are on standby to immediately deploy assets and manpower as needed," he said in a tweet.
Vice President Leni Robredo, in a tweet, appealed for industrial fans to help dissipate the smoke due to the fire.
"Appealing to anyone with big, industrial fans who would be willing to lend them. PGH urgently needs them to dissipate the smoke that enveloped the hospital due to the fire. Thank you," she said in a tweet.