COVID-19 cases in Philippines rise to 64 with 12 new patients

UNTV News   •   March 13, 2020   •   1265

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed 12 more cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), increasing the total number of infections in the country to 64.

The DOH has yet to release the details of new positive cases, as of posting time.

The department added it has deployed surveillance teams, with the help of concerned local government units, to conduct extensive gathering of information and tracing all those who had contact with the new patients.

The DOH also called on the public to help the government in the contact tracing activities by reporting information to its designated hotline.

“We continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities. Please contact DOH and call the designated hotline at (02) 8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for any new leads,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

He also urged those who have been confirmed to have contracted the virus to let the government assist them in fighting the disease.

“For those who are confirmed cases, please let our hospitals take care of you. Studies show that chances of recovery are high. Let us take it upon ourselves to protect our family and our community’s health and well-being,” Duque said.

Available data on COVID-19 show that elderly people, average of 66 years in age, and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression are vulnerable to the disease.

“We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings,” the health chief said.

Duque also reminded the public to keep calm and stop hoarding basic commodities as denying others access to such necessities only adds to the problem at hand.

“I also implore everyone to please stop hoarding basic commodities, particularly hygiene and sanitation products. It does not help us fight off COVID-19. Realize that when you hoard, you are being part of the problem by denying the rest of your fellowmen the means to protect themselves,” he said.

The Philippines is currently under a state of public health emergency following the hoisting of Code Red Sub-level 2 due to growing coronavirus infections, particularly in Metro Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila under a 30-day community quarantine to combat the spread of the virus which will start from March 15 to April 14.

During the quarantine period, land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila are suspended.

Work in the executive branch and classes in all levels in Metro Manila are also suspended.

Mall and shop owners are urged to continue operations. The delivery of goods and services will also be allowed as long as it follows regulations.

Private companies, however, are encouraged to implement a flexible work arrangement or a work from home set up for the meantime to protect their employees.

Duterte said all these measures are subject to daily review depending on the situation.

Authorities have stressed that movement of residents in Metro Manila will not be restricted but everyone should cooperate and obey the rules to help stop the contagion.

“The decision to implement a community quarantine was made in the best interest of the public. I enjoin everyone—young and old—to cooperate fully with our government. Together, we can contain COVID-19,” Duque said.

Metro Manila to likely transition to GCQ after May 31 —Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.

“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.

Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.

He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.

“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Mandaluyong City beefs up rapid testing after COVID-19 infects 277 tricycle drivers

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Mandaluyong City government cannot decide yet on whether or not to allow tricycle drivers to operate come June 1.

This, after 277 of the 3,115 tricycle drivers who underwent rapid testing were confirmed positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Mandaluyong City Health Office is continuously conducting rapid tests among 7,000 tricycle drivers in the city to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers.

Those who were infected are now under isolation in the city’s quarantine facility while waiting for the confirmatory tests using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Nagko contact tracing pa ho kami kasi scattered po ito eh. Hindi po ito kasi by area. So mina-map out pa po namin kung saan sila marami (We are doing contact tracing because these are scattered. It is not just in one area. So we are mapping out where the most number of cases are),” said Dr. Alexander Sta, Maria of the city health office.

The LGU, meanwhile, clarified that the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the city is a result of the mass testing which allowed for the immediate tracking of COVID-19 probable patients and their prompt isolation to curb further spread.

“This is coordinated kasi meron po tayong in-charge sa buong TODA. Then before po ito ni-launch, na-meeting po ang lahat ng presidente ng kanilang mga TODA so binigyan po sila ng schedule (This is a coordinated effort. There is someone in charge of the whole TODA. Before this was launched, we held a meeting with their respective presidents and all of them were given a schedule),” Sta. Maria added.

The city government will test jeepney drivers next once the tests among tricycle drivers is completed. MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

House panel approves P1.5-T fund to create jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.

The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.

The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.

Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020. –AAC

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