The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of China has reached 10,566 across 72 countries with 166 deaths, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed Wednesday.
As of 0900 GMT Monday, a total of 90,870 cases were reported globally, with 3,112 deceased.
In the past 24 hours, 1,792 newly confirmed cases have been reported outside of China. Eight new countries — Andorra, Jordan, Latvia, Morocco, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Tunisia — have reported COVID-19 cases.
COVID-19 is continuing to spread worldwide, especially in South Korea, Japan and Iran.
South Korea, the world’s hardest-hit country outside China, confirmed 293 more cases of the COVID-19 on Wednesday, raising the total number of infections to 5,621. Two more deaths were reported, lifting the death toll to 33.
Daegu, a metropolis with a 2.5 million population about 300 km southeast of Seoul, became the epicenter of the viral spread as it accounted for almost 90 percent of the total.
The Daegu cluster was closely linked to the church services of a homegrown minor religious sect, called Sincheonji, in Daegu.
Lee Man-hee, the leader of the Shincheonji religious sect in South Korea, made a public apology on Monday, after they were accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The number of coronavirus cases in Japan topped 1,000, with over 700 of them stemming from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in the port city of Yokohama.
The country’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga Wednesday said that the country is still preparing to hold the Tokyo Summer Olympics which will take place from July 24 to August 9 this year.
By noon on March 3, the cumulative confirmed cases in Iran was 2,336, with 435 cases recovered and 77 deaths. Twenty-three Iranian lawmakers have been infected with the disease. The head of the country’s emergency medical services has also been infected. Local media reports say he’s in a stable condition.
A majority of EU countries have also reported cases of the novel coronavirus infections, with the total number of confirmed cases standing at around 3,000 on Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization.
Italy’s health authorities said on Tuesday, over 400 new confirmed cases were reported within the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 2,502, with a total of 79 deaths, among which 27 were reported on Tuesday alone.
On the same day, France had a total of 212 confirmed positive cases, with four deaths. Tourism, a pillar of the French economy, has suffered heavily.
The Louvre Museum was shut down on March 1 due to the spreading of the epidemic. It was reopened on Wednesday noon, according to local media. Major events including the Paris Marathon and the Paris Book Fair, one of the World’s largest, have also been canceled. The French Finance Minister Bruno Lemaire said that could lead to a 30 to 40 percent decrease in tourism to the country.
Considering the impact on the global economy, the World Bank Group announced Tuesday that it is making available an initial package of up to 12 billion U.S. dollars in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed), in a surprise move, lowered the target range for the federal funds rate by 50 basis points on Tuesday, as the COVID-19 outbreak poses “evolving risks” to economic activity. (REUTERS CONNECT)
MANILA, Philippines – Newly-discovered COVID-19 variant Omicron has not yet been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said following reports about travelers from South Africa who are being quarantined in Negros Occidental.
“We are getting details on these travellers, we will provide info as soon. Just to be clear, no detection yet of Omicron, we are still processing next batch of whole genome sequences,” DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a statement.
The three foreign nationals arrived in Negros Occidental last November 26.
They are currently being quarantined in Manapla, Calatrava, and La Carlota City.
Local authorities said the foreign travelers arrived in the country on November 25 before the national government placed South Africa under the Red List due to the Omicron variant.
They have also been issued with Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-Pass) in Makati and have passed the approval of the Bureau of Quarantine in Manila.
The provincial government said the three are fully vaccinated and tested negative based on their RT-PCR test results. They will undergo re-swabbing while under quarantine.
Local officials have assured the public that the travelers are being monitored and that they will continue to intensify their measures against COVID-19.
MANILA, Philippines – More than 5 million individuals have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the first two days of the government’s three-day vaccination campaign, an official from the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
“Ang running total natin ay 5,000,353,” DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said when asked for an update on the output of the nationwide vaccination drive, dubbed as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” program.
The campaign, which started on Monday, aims to inoculate at least nine million Filipinos until Wednesday.
“We are still hopeful na ma-meet natin iyong 9 million target. But just in case we will be unable to reach it, this record is already high,” Cabotaje said.
On the first day of the campaign, authorities were able to administer a total of 2,708,018 vaccine doses while 2,292,335 jabs were given on the second day as of 6 a.m.
Cabotaje said this number is expected to increase as more data come in.
“May nagsasabi na nakatulong ang holiday (Nov. 30) kasi they were able to go to the vaccination sites. Pero may mga feedback din na they worked because it was double-pay,” she said when asked about output on Tuesday, which was a regular holiday for Bonifacio Day.
“And there were some problems because they were not accommodated during the vaccination time. May mga bakuna centers na nagsara nang mas maaga,” she added.
The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 earlier said the vaccination drive from November 29 to December 1 will only be the first leg of the program, which is focused on scaling up the inoculation rate of local government units for the first vaccine dose by covering up to 70% of their target populations.
Another round of nationwide vaccinations will be held from December 15 to 17, which will focus on ramping up the number of fully vaccinated individuals to achieve the government’s target of fully vaccinating at least 54 million Filipinos by year-end.
The Philippines rolled out its vaccination drive against COVID-19 last March for priority sectors.
MANILA, Philippines — The use of face shields will only become mandatory when cases of the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) Omicron variant is already recorded in the country and the alert level system goes up from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3, said Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.
In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during the weekly Talk to the Nation aired Tuesday night, Año clarified that the government does not totally disregard the use of face shield which was, in fact, integrated into the country’s alert level system in COVID-19 response.
He said while face shield use is voluntary in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3, it has remained under the discretion of the local government units under Alert Level 4, and mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5, as stated in the current Alert Level system.
“Hindi naman po natin talaga totally na-discard ‘yung face shield. In-integrate lang po natin doon sa Alert Level System na sa Alert Level 1, 2, 3 ay voluntary po; Alert Level 4, may discretion ang LGU to impose; Alert Level 5, talagang mandatory,” Año said.
The DILG chief further clarified the use of face shields in layman’s terms and likened it to an umbrella.
“Para pong ano siya eh, sa layman’s term, ‘yung face shield po parang payong. ‘Pag malakas ang ulan nagpapayong po tayo; pero ‘pag wala nang ulan, pwedeng itabi lang muna ‘yung payong. Pero ‘pag uulan o kaya nakita natin na maulap, magdadala po ng paying,” he said.
Año stressed that the use of face shields is still well within the government’s policy.
“But, of course, sir, it will change kung may makapasok na Omicron,” he said.
The DILG chief underscored the government’s readiness once the Omicron variant enters the country.
“Now, we have instituted border controls. But our border in the southeast porous, iyon ang dapat bantayan po. Kasi kung mayroong mga pumasok na mga Filipino Muslims from Sabah, from Malaysia or Indonesia at hindi po dumaan sa port or seaport, airport, eh ‘yun po ‘yung talagang kailangang mabantayan,” Año warned.
As the department’s course of action, Año said he has coordinated with the military and has given directives to the police and the coast guard to implement strict and close monitoring in the country’s borders.
“Through the PNP (Philippine National Police), Armed Forces [of the Philippines], [and the Philippine] Coast Guard, maglalabas po kami nang mas mahigpit na mga direktiba para siguradong mabantayan ‘yung mga porous borders natin,” he said. —/mbmf
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