At least 21 doctors have died in the Philippines due to the novel coronavirus, local media reported on Wednesday
The country has reported 177 deaths as the confirmed cases of COVID-19 has climbed to 3,764.
"Doctors who died due to the coronavirus was primarily due to patients lying about their condition or exposure history," local broadcaster GMT quoted Rustico Jimenez, the president of the Private Hospitals Association in the country, as saying.
So far, 740 medical staff in the Philippines contracted the coronavirus and are under 14-day self-quarantine after suspected exposure, said the association.
Jimenez argued that the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and other health staff in private hospitals was also behind their deaths.
"Private hospitals do not receive PPEs, we buy our own. But at this point, it's hard to buy supplies," said Jimenez.
Soon after the Jimenez's statement, the country's Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) said they would ensure all public and private health staff were given protective gear.
"We will check this with our health authorities but it's in our records that we have given PPE gears to private hospitals," the state-run Philippine News Agency quoted Karlos Nograles, Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesperson, as saying.
Thousands of health workers across the Asia-Pacific region are risking their lives on the frontlines as they battle the coronavirus pandemic.
According to data compiled by Anadolu Agency, at least 3,505 health workers in the Asia-Pacific region have tested positive for the virus, while 789 medical staff are under 14-day self-quarantines after suspected exposure.
At least 39 doctors died across the region after being infected by the virus, which has claimed more than 82,100 lives across the globe.
Since the virus emerged last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has spread to at least 184 countries and regions.
There are more than 1.4 million confirmed infections worldwide, according to data by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. More than 301,500 have recovered.
*Writing by Islamuddin SajidAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.