By Archie Villaflores 

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin

For Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, health care workers in the country have already recovered from the mental stress brought about by serving at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.

"Tingin ko naman, ramdam ko, correct me if I'm wrong, mukhang maayos naman sila, mukhang they have recovered from the extreme stress that in the early stage of the pandemic they had to suffer," Duque said in a briefing on Thursday.

The health chief inspected the New Year's Eve preparations of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center.

Moreover, Duque said that it would best if the health workers themselves would be asked of their mental health condition for managing the pandemic.

As of December 20, more than 13,000 health workers in the Philippines had contracted COVID-19 and at least 76 succumbed to the viral respiratory illness.

Amid the pandemic, some frontliners in the country had lamented the delays in the release of their COVID-19 hazard pay and special risk allowance.

The government's response to the health crisis has been also met with widespread criticisms as the administration still fails to contain the spread of the virus.