Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 10) – Metro Manila is running out of hotels for the government’s proposal to convert them into isolation facilities or temporary hospitals, an industry leader said on Saturday.

In a virtual briefing, Arthur Lopez, president of the Philippine Hotel Owners Association, said that all of the hotels in Metro Manila were already “fully booked” as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration used them as quarantine facilities for the return of Filipino workers from overseas.

The Philippine Hotel Owners Association consists of 70 owners with a total of 300 hotels.

Lopez said while some of the government’s Oplan Kalinga member hotels were being developed for mild and asymptomatic patients, converting accommodations to makeshift hospitals may not be possible.

“It’s going to be very difficult because we need a lot to support patients … so I don’t know. But the problem is we can’t provide a hotel,” he said.

[Translation: That’s going to be very difficult because there are many requirements needed to support patients… so I don’t know. But the problem, there is no hotel available.]

READ: The Treatment Tsar supports the proposal to convert hotels into temporary COVID-19 hospitals

According to Lopez, owners have seen sales have dropped by at least 80% since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“What OWWA gets, we can pay our employees who are working this time, and also pay for our electricity … It helps these hotels a lot, otherwise we will close forever,” he said.

[Translation: What we’re getting from the OWWA, we’re able to pay our employees who are working this time and pay for our electricity… It helped a lot for the hotels, otherwise, we will be forced to shut down.]

While most hospitals in areas where there is increased quarantine in the community are currently at critical levels and more health workers are being infected, a health official said Saturday the medical workforce was “not exhausted”.

“Our health care workforce is not really exhausted,” said Health Minister Maria Rosario Vergeire in the same briefing.

[Translation: Our health workforce is not really depleted.]

This despite the move to send health workers from the provinces to the NCR Plus bubble.

Last week, Vergeire said the DOH had deployed more than 100 medical workers. She added that more people will join the workforce in the coming days.