Yesterday, we reported that the North American International Auto Show (AKA: Detroit Motor Show) has been canceled. The reason is that the venue for the show could be turned into an emergency field hospital to address the COVID-19 pandemic which is already overwhelming the existing healthcare network in the United States.

It seems the Philippine government is also looking at a similar strategy, and they're proposing 4 large complexes for it. One of which is the venue used for the Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) and the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS).

According to some information from the Department of Public Works and Highways, the 4 candidate public buildings include the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, the Philsports Arena, and the World Trade Center Manila (WTC-Manila).

"A proposal is already in place to convert available spaces of Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), World Trade Center (WTC), Rizal Memorial Coliseum, and Philippine Institute of Sports (PhilSports) Multipurpose Arena that can accommodate a total of 2,905 possible patients," said DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

If given the green light by the Department of Health (DOH), the 4 facilities will be used as spaces for persons under investigation (PUI) and for persons under monitoring (PUM). Villar says that the conversion of the buildings as temporary treatment and monitoring facilities will be in accordance with certain protocols to prevent infection and the further spread of SARS-CoV-2.

The large buildings should theoretically give the DOH and the overstretched hospitals the space they need to isolate or segregate patients depending on their status. The flexibility afforded by the spaces will allow for certain areas such as contaminated zones for patients, buffer zones for medical staff decontamination and hand hygiene, and a sterile zone as a holding area for health workers to don their personal protective equipment (PPE).

"As per guidelines provided by DOH, confirmed COVID-19 patients may be placed in shared space or rooms. PUIs shall be separated in a different space or tent or room provided with individual enclosed spaces and separate entrance," continued Villar.

All these facilities have the necessary water and electrical lines for suspected COVID-19 patients. All facilities are easily accessible to Level 2 and Level 3 hospitals that can take PUIs or confirmed COVID-19 patients.

As stated, WTC-Manila hosts two major automotive events. Before the start of the quarantine and the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the organizers of the Manila International Auto Show already decided to postpone the event to a later date that has yet to be disclosed. The biennial (read: every other year) Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) is scheduled for 2020 and is typically held during the third quarter. There is no word yet as to whether PIMS will push through.

According to the DPWH's Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo, they are also looking at other sites, including open spaces, should the need arise.