De Lima calls on COVID-19 task force to release qualified detainees to decongest prisons

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 2, 2020   •   954

Senator Leila de Lima is urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider releasing qualified detainees in order to decongest prisons and prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL).

In a statement, De Lima said the government should not to forget those behind bars and to protect those working in closed facilities.

She also said that due to the congestion of detention facilities, PDL’s cannot practice social distancing which makes them more at risk in contracting the disease.

Even with the enhanced community quarantine, De Lima said the number of arrested individuals keep piling up which leads detention centers to exceed its full capacity.

“Given the state of our jails and prisons, the infection rate will be catastrophic. We thus offer a solution: decongest our jails and prisons through a systematic release of qualified PDLs on humanitarian grounds,” she said.

The qualifications proposed by the senator are:

  • Elder PDLs – 70 years old and above
  • PDLs with serious illness or disability
  • PDLs detained, pre-conviction, for minor non-violent offenses
  • PDLs convicted for minor non-violent crimes

De Lima also stressed that those who committed heinous crimes should not be among being considered for early release.

“If done properly, we would be able to free up additional resources to improve the nutrition and sanitation in the jails and prisons for the remaining PDLs. This will also ease some pressure on the jail and prison health care facilities,” she said. AAC

Phl logs 603 new COVID-19 cases, 156 deaths

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has logged 603 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases based on the data released Sunday, December 5.

The department has also listed 1,047 recoveries and 156 deaths.

The new cases brought the active cases to 13,853, while the additional number of recoveries listed a total of 2,771,536 patients that have recuperated from the viral disease.

With the recent reported deaths, the total number of fatalities brought by COVID-19 is now 49,386.

Meanwhile, two laboratories were not operational on December 3; while four were not able to submit data to the COVID-19 Document Repository System (CDRS).

The DOH said that in the past 14 days, the contribution of the said six laboratories were more or less 0.9% from the samples that were tested, and 1.3% from individuals who were found positive of the disease.

“Note: Of the 156 reported deaths, only 12 occurred in December 2021. 36% of the reported deaths today occurred in November 2021 due to late encoding of death information to COVIDKaya,” the DOH said.

“This issue is currently being coordinated with the Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to ensure information is up to date,” it added.

The health department has also issued a warning to the public not to be complacent amid the threats of COVID-19, particularly the Omicron variant, emphasizing the importance of vaccination against the said virulent disease.

“Pinapaalalahanan ang lahat na huwag maging kampante sa banta ng COVID-19. Bagkus, dapat natin  ipagpatuloy ang tamang pagsunod sa minimum public health standards at laging magsuot ng facemask na may face shield, mag physical distancing, at maghugas ng kamay. Agad rin na magpabakuna upang makakuha ng dagdag na proteksyon laban sa COVID-19,” the DOH said. —/mbmf

Gov’t hits close to 10M jab doses in 5-day national vaccination days

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 announced Sunday (December 5) that the government has almost hit the 10-million mark in the five-day national vaccination days (NVD).

On its Facebook post, the NTF said that a total of 9,937,827 vaccine doses were administered during the 5-day NVD from November 29 to December 3, based on the latest data from the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).

“A total of 8,090,078 vaccine doses were administered during the original three-day event. This includes 6,696,920 first doses, 1,182,464 second doses, and 210,694 booster shots and additional doses,” the NTF said.

The task force added that in the original three-day event (November 29 to December 1), the government has administered 8,090,078 vaccine doses; broken down as follows:

  • November 29 with 2,716,068 doses
  • November 30 with 2,489,351 doses
  • December 1 with 2,884,659 doses

The NTF said that “due to the clamor of many LGUs, the government allowed them to voluntarily extend their massive vaccination rollout until December 3, Friday.”

The two-day extension resulted in an additional 1,847,749 doses administered, based on NVOC data. —/mbmf

PH gov’t tracing 253 passengers from Africa amid looming threat of Omicron

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is tracing and monitoring more than 200 travelers who arrived in the country from African nations in the last two weeks amid the threat of new COVID-19 variant called Omicron, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they have traced a total of 253 passengers from South Africa who arrived in the Philippines from November 15 to 29.

“BOQ has started to locate these passengers,” Vergeire said in a virtual press forum.

Of the 253 passengers, 249 were returning overseas Filipinos and four were foreigners. Authorities have traced 71 of these individuals.

The number includes three foreigners still in quarantine in Western Visayas after yielding negative test results.

Vergeire said three of these passengers initially tested positive for COVID-19. One passenger came from South Africa, another from Burkina Faso, and the other from Egypt.

She said samples of these travelers may undergo genome sequencing for variant identification.

“We are still processing the batch that we are going to subject to whole genome sequencing for this week. Results might be tonight or maybe tomorrow,” she said.

“Meron pong dumating na 253 from South Africa noong Nov. 15 to 29, may tatlo galing Burkina Faso; and mayroon 541 galing Egypt. Each of these countries nagkaroon ng isang traveler who tested positive for COVID-19,” she added.

The Philippine government banned the entry of travelers – except for Filipino repatriates – from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy until December 15 as a precautionary measure against the Omicron variant.

The DOH said the heavily mutated variant and potentially more infectious than other coronavirus variants have now been detected in 35 countries.

The variant was first discovered in South Africa.

It has been designated as a variant of concern but the World Health Organization said further studies are needed to better understand the variant’s effect on vaccines, treatment, and the virus’ transmissibility.


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