Cong. Yap negative for COVID-19; RITM says sorry for ‘clerical oversight’

Robie de Guzman   •   March 27, 2020   •   494

MANILA, Philippines – The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Friday issued an apology for its erroneous report that ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We wish to publicly apologize to Cong. Eric Go Yap of ACT-CIS Partylist for forwarding a report of his COVID-19 results that displayed a clerical oversight,” the RITM said in a statement.

The RITM said Yap remains negative of the virus, and that it was only discovered late Thursday night by its Molecular Biology Laboratory.

The RITM stressed that this is an isolated incident, brought about by an encoding error.

“His results are by no means a false positive. This isolated incident was brought about by an encoding error that was discovered late last night by the Molecular Biology Laboratory (MBL) of the Department of Health-Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (DOH-RITM),” it said.

Yap on Wednesday said he was diagnosed with the viral disease, appealing for understanding after he admitted to having attended several meetings including with top government officials in Malacañang.

The Presidential Security Group earlier said it is eyeing to file charges against Yap for breaking the Palace protocol on COVID-19.

“Again, we profusely and sincerely apologize to Hon. Eric Go Yap for the unnecessary discomfort this incident has caused,” the RITM said.

“The individual responsible for the incident was enlisted as an augmentation staff from outside the regular workforce of the laboratory. The said employee is already being dealt with administratively,” it added.

The RITM also assured the public that its testing process is compliant with the World Health Organization (WHO) protocol, “and that our results remain accurate despite this incident.”

“The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing procedure still stands as the gold standard in detecting the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19,” it said.

The RITM said it has now added another layer of verification for all succeeding reports it will submit to ensure that similar incidents will never happen again.

“For the assurance of the public, we have reviewed all results we have previously forwarded and we affirm that this incident remains isolated,” it said.

“We promise that this, and other associated incidents, will never happen again,” it added.

ALAMIN: Health protocols para sa barbershops at salons na magbubukas simula June 7

Robie de Guzman   •   May 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Papayagan na ng pamahalaan ang muling pagbubukas ng mga salon at barbershops sa mga lugar na nasa general community quarantine (GCQ) simula sa June 7.

Sa bisa ng Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 Resolution No. 41, 30% capacity ng mga salon at barbershop ang papayagang mag-operate at madagdagan ito ng hanggang 50% pagkatapos pa ng dalawang linggo.

Ang mga salon at barbershop naman sa mga lugar na nasa modified general community quarantine, 50% na ng kabuuang operational capacity ang pinapayagan at magiging 100% ito pagkatapos pa ng tatlong linggo.

Ngunit paglilinaw ng Malacañang, limitado lamang sa paggugupit ang operasyon ng mga barberya at salon at bawal pang ialok ang ibang serbisyo.

“Wala pa ring facial, wala pa rin sa kuko, wala pa ring pagtatanggal ng mga eyebrows hanggang gupit lang tayo,” ang sabi ni Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Bilang gabay naman sa mga magbubukas na barberya at salon, inilabas ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ang sumusunod na panuntunan para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng novel coronavirus disease:

  • Istriktong pagsusuot ng face mask at pagpapatupad ng social distancing measures.
  • Kailangang maglaan ng 10 minutong interval sa bawat customer para bigyang-daan ang paglilinis o sanitation ng mga ginamit na kasangkapan at pasilidad.
  • Pinagagamit rin ang barbershops at salon ng alternatibong paraan ng appointment gaya ng online at text messaging upang maiwasan ang walk-in.
  • Kailangan ding may nakalagay na mga marker sa loob ng shop na indikasyon kung saan lang maaaring pumuwesto ang mga customer.
  • Hindi rin hinihikayat ang pagdadala ng kasama liban na lamang kung kinakailangan.
  • Dapat nakasuot ang mga tauhan ng shop ng personal protective equipment gaya ng face mask, face shield, salamin sa mata, gloves at hair caps.
  • Kailangang naka-sapatos at laging maghuhugas ng kamay ang mga empleyado.
  • Ipinagbabawal ang pagkakaroon ng physical contact sa pagbabayad, at sa halip ay gagamit ng maliit na tray sa pagtanggap ng pera.

Bago pumasok sa shop ang customer, narito ang mga dapat gawin:

  • Dumaan sa foot bath o floor mat na may disinfectant.
  • Kailangan kunan ng temperatura at lagyan ng alcohol ang mga kamay ng customer.
  • Sagutan ng kliyente ang health checklis na ibibigay ng shop.
  • Ang mga dalang gamit ng mga kliyente ay dapat i-disinfect at ilagay sa sanitary plastic bags.

Pinaalalahanan rin ang mga customer na bawal magsuot ng alahas gaya ng singsing, bracelets, relo at hikaw.

Ayon sa DTI, dapat naka-paskil sa loob ng shop ang mga guidelines na ito.

“It’s for the safety of their workers, ‘yung mga nagtatrabaho doon sa salon at yung mga customers nila itong ginagawa natin protocol,” ani DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo.

Ayon sa DTI, mahigit sa 400-libong manggagawa ang matutulungan sa pagbubukas ng nasa 45-libong malalaki at maliliit na barbership at salon.

Paalala naman ng ahensiya, maaaring muling ipasara ang mga nasabing establisimyento kung lalabag sa mga inilatag na health at safety protocols. – RRD (mula sa ulat nina Correspondent Rosalie Coz at Rey Pelayo)

Belmonte, nanindigan sa ipinaiiral na ‘no fitting’ at ‘no return, no exchange’ policy sa malls sa Quezon City

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nanindigan si Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte sa mga polisiyang ipinatutupad sa ilang mall sa lungsod kasunod ng pagbubukas ng limitadong operasyon ng mga ito sa gitna ng community quarantine.

Kabilang sa mga polisiyang ito ang pagbabawal sa pagsusukat ng mga damit at ang ‘no return, no exchange policy’ o pagsasauli o pagpapapalit ng biniling produkto.

Ayon kay Belmonte, ang mga panuntunang ipinatutupad sa mga shopping mall sa lungsod ay bahagi ng precautionary measure laban sa novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Giit ng alkalde, malaki ang tiyansa na makahawa sa iba kung infected ng virus ang nagsukat ng damit.

“Initiative ng city government ito, kasi alam naman natin na ang clothes store ay bukas na at alam din natin na pwedeng matransmit ang virus sa pamamagitan ng damit and the city government ay nagkusa na no trying of clothes, walang pagsusukat,” ani Belmonte.

Aniya, batid niyang maraming magagalit sa kanyang patakaran ngunit humihingi siya ng pang-unawa sa publiko dahil para din naman ito sa kapakanan ng mga residente sa lungsod.

“Sa tingin ko, dapat maunawaan nila na this is for their own health and welfare and syempre, kung bumili ka na, ang understanding dyan nasukat mo na hindi mo na sana pwedeng ibalik yun, gusto nating protektahan ang kalusugan ng ating mamamayan,” ani Belmonte.

Ang pahayag ay ginawa ng alkalde matapos punahin ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ang mga nasabing polisiya sa ilang mall sa Quezon City.

Una nang sinabi ng DTI na labag sa batas ang ‘no return, no exchange’ policy dahil sa ilalim ng Republic Act 7394 o Consumer Act of the Philippines, may karapatan ang mga mamimili na isauli ang nabiling produkto lalo na kung ito ay depektibo.

Payo ng ahensiya, magpulong ang mga lokal na pamahalaan, mall operators at ang Department of the Interior and Local Government upang ayusin ang nasabing panuntunan.

Iminungkahi rin ng DTI ang pagkakaroon ng uniformed protocols na ipatutupad sa mga mall upang maiwasan ang kalituhan sa publiko. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

No tuition hike for several private colleges, universities—CHED

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said several private colleges and universities have assured that they will not implement a tuition fee increase this school year.

CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera said universities like the University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University already announced that they would not be increasing their tuition.

“Iyang mga universities na malalaki, kayang kaya nila itong financial situation (Those big universities, they can handle this financial situation) because their sources of income are varied. They have other businesses,” he said.

CHED also assured they already have a mandate on the implementation of staggered payment on tuition fees.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (May 28) has appealed to private school institutions to allow staggered payments. He also announced that parents, who cannot afford to pay their child’s education fees, can request for a loan.

“Itong Land Bank, bubuksan namin (We will open Land Bank) and you can borrow money to finance the education of your children,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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