COVID-19 cases may increase during rainy season — Dr. Leachon
Marje Pelayo • May 13, 2020 • 576
MANILA, Philippines — It’s been raining lately and people are asking how would wet weather affect the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
According to COVID-19 Special Medical Adviser to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Dr. Anthony Leachon, it would likely increase the number of COVID-19 cases.
“Kapag tag-ulan kasi, pini-predict natin— dahil dikit-dikit— it will cause more problems kasi iyong social distancing ay nawawala kapag tagulan, (During rainy season people tend to move closer so we are predicting that social distancing measure will be ignored),” he said.
According to Dr. Leachon, there is no concrete evidence that weather affects coronavirus transmission because infections course through close contact with a carrier of the disease.
He emphasized that individuals evacuated to safety from flooding and the wrath of typhoons must strictly observe physical distancing, aside from proper hand washing and overall hygiene.
“Kunwari mag-e-evacuation center ka, dapat may mask at alcohol doon at malalayo kayo (For instance, if you are staying at an evacuation center, you should have a mask and rubbing alcohol with you. You should also keep your distance from one another),” Leachon said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) says that observing COVID-19 protocols is included in their preparations.
NDRRMC Spokesperson Mark Timbal explained that among the measures is separating the sick and well people at evacuation centers.
Health officials will also make sure to monitor evacuation areas during a tropical cyclone.
Meanwhile, Dr. Leachon added that the government is ready to face dengue cases.
“I-prepare na ang kabahayan ninyo na walang masyadong papasok na lamok. Magdala kayo ng mga repellent at mga damit na mahahaba para hindi kayo makagat ng lamok (Prepare your house so that no mosquito would breed. Bring repellent and clothes that would protect you from mosquito bites),” he said.
Leachon advises the public to stay at home even during the rainy season especially if they have no important activity outdoors. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public on the possible airborne transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Despite the lack of further studies, the Health Department said they are not dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 might spread in the air. They reminded the public to always adhere to the health and safety protocols.
“Patuloy po tayong natututo tungkol sa SARS-CoV-2 at COVID-19. Kabilang na nga po dito ang mode of transmission o paraan ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 (We are continuously learning about SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19. This includes the mode of transmission of COVID-19). It’s an evolving science and new evidence continues to roll out,” according to DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
More than 200 scientists urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge the possibility of airborne transmission. According to a study, “viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”
The WHO previously dismissed the possibility of airborne transmission but said they will release a scientific brief summary regarding the collected data on the modes of transmission of COVID-19
“This is a respiratory pathogen and so it is important that what we know is it fits into the guidance that we have, which is why a comprehensive package of interventions is required to be able to stop transmission,” according to WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19 Pandemic Maria Van Kerkhove.
Meanwhile, the DOH said they will also review and verify the evidence and studies about COVID-19 in order to provide appropriate information and advisories to the public. —AAC(with reports from Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City Hall of Justice building and its annex will be temporarily shut down after four of its court officers and employees tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the city government announced on Friday.
The city government said Mayor Joy Belmonte ordered the closure of the buildings for seven days of until the city’s Epidemiological and Disease Surveillance Unit (QC-ESU) has completed the appropriate testing and containment measures.
In her letter to Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert and Metropolitan Trial Court Executive Judge Ace Alagar, Belmonte explained that her decision to temporarily shut down the Hall of Justice is to enforce measures during epidemic or outbreak to prevent spread of disease.
QC-ESU head Dr. Rolly Cruz said they will conduct exhaustive contact tracing of all those who were in close contact with the court officers and employees who were found positive and perform follow-up testing as necessary.
Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases shall be placed on home quarantine or isolation in a quarantine facility as feasible under the circumstances, he added.
Meanwhile, the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) started the thorough surface disinfection and misting of the whole City Hall complex.
The agency said the disinfection began on Thursday and will last until Sunday.
President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday (July 3) vetoed parts of a law that would have made wearing a face mask obligatory in enclosed spaces where large groups gather, as swathes of Brazil struggle to tame new infections of the coronavirus.
“Today there were various vetoes for legislation that spoke of the obligatory use of face masks, including inside the home. I vetoed (them). No one is going to enter a home and give a fine. I could also have got a fine because I am now without a mask,” he said.
Bolsonaro has regularly flouted social distancing guidelines advised by most health experts, shaking hands and embracing supporters. He has said publicly that his past as an athlete makes him immune to the worst symptoms of the virus.
He has also been widely criticised by health experts for downplaying the severity of the virus which he has dismissed as just “a little flu.” Bolsonaro has pressured governors and mayors for months to reverse lockdown measures and reopen the economy.
Bolsonaro’s veto comes as Brazil nears 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday. The virus continues to ravage Latin America’s largest country even as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms sparking fears infections will keep rising.
Brazil has the world’s second largest outbreak after the United States and the virus has killed over 60,000 people in the country.
In Rio alone, more than 6,600 people have died of COVID-19 in the past four months. Only 14 countries in the world have a death toll higher than the city. Intensive care units in public hospitals are at 70% capacity.
Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest and worst-hit city, is expected to open bars and restaurants next week. (Reuters)
(Production: Sergio Queiroz, Leonardo Benassatto, Pablo Garcia, Leandra Camera, Paul Vieira)
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