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Department of Health Initiates ‘Code White’ Alert for Holy Week 2024 in the Philippines

MANILA — In response to the expected surge of travelers this Holy Week, the Department of Health (DOH) has announced the activation of a 'code white' alert from March 24 to 31, encompassing the Lenten period starting from Palm Sunday.

According to Philippines News Agency, the alert aims to ensure the readiness of medical personnel and facilities for the timely treatment of any emergent health issues, recognizing the potential for mass casualty incidents or other emergencies during significant national events.

The declaration requires hospitals to be prepared with medical staff and resources on standby. The DOH's Health Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) is set to perform active monitoring throughout the period. Moreover, all Centers for Health Development are coordinating with Regional or Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices, focusing particularly on areas known for tourism and religious significance.

Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa emphasized the commitment of the DOH to public safety during this period, noting that the measures align with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s directives. He expressed hopes for a solemn and safe Holy Week, underscoring the importance of preparedness for any medical emergencies.

The DOH has issued several health reminders for the public during the Lenten season, which include staying hydrated, avoiding prolonged heat exposure, being vigilant about seasonal diseases, and ensuring children's safety during water activities. Additionally, the department has called on motorists to exercise extra caution and patience to prevent road accidents, which tend to increase during this busy travel period.

In related advisories, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has encouraged travelers to support DOT-accredited enterprises to ensure service quality and compliance with tourism standards. The department also warned against scams targeting tourists, advising the public to rely on credible sources for travel information and assistance.

The DOH and DOT have provided contact details and resources for emergencies and travel assistance, reinforcing their commitment to public safety and service during the holiday season.