Not less than nine doctors who devoted their time and energy on coronavirus infected patients have died of the same disease while treating them in Philippines.

This was made known by the country’s top medical association on Thursday, March 26, as hospitals were overwhelmed and medics complained about a lack of protection on the front lines.

The death toll from coronavirus in the Philippines is reported to be at 38 but the announcement of the doctors’ deaths heightened fears that the scale of the health crisis in the Philippines is much worse than is being officially reported.

The Philippine Medical Association said Thursday a ninth doctor had died of the virus, and that health workers were not getting enough protection.

“If it were up to me, test the frontliners first and test them again after seven days. Doctors could be carriers themselves,” Benito Atienza, vice president of the Philippine Medical Association told AFP.

Three large Manila hospitals announced Wednesday they had reached full capacity and would no longer accept new coronavirus cases.

Hundreds of medical staff are no longer accepting patients because they are undergoing 14-day self-quarantines after suspected exposure, the hospitals said.

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