DOH advises public to defer attending public events amid nCoV outbreak
Marje Pelayo • February 10, 2020 • 682
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday (February 10) advised the public to refrain from joining public events such as concerts amid the outbreak of 2019 novel Coronavirus-Acute Respiratory Disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).
The agency also encourages the public to avoid crowded areas and continue to practice self-protection measures so as not to contract the disease.
The DOH likewise urged organizers of large events and mass gatherings to postpone their schedule to curb the spread of the virus.
“It’s recommending people that in mass gatherings, na magkaka- dikit-dikit po sila (you are prone to skin contact). Avoid that. Postpone if possible,” appealed DOH Undersecretary Gerard Bayugo.
“But yung mga activities na di ma-control (But for inevitable activities), we expect the control infection protocol. That depends on the organizers making sure that the welfare of their participants is given priority,” he added.
The DOH also confirmed that there are, so far, 14 regions in the country reported persons under investigation (PUI) in their respective areas with a total of 314 PUIs across the country.
Of the said number, 183 are Filipinos, 99 are Chinese nationals and the rest are of diverse nationalities.
The Department clarified however that even so that most of the PUIs are Filipinos, none of them is declared positive of 2019nCov-ARD.
As of this writing, there remain three positive cases in the Philippines.
On Saturday (February 8), the DOH announced the discharge of the 38-year-old Chinese national, the first confirmed cases in the Philippines, as she was cleared and has fully recovered.
It is not confirmed, however, if she already left the country for China.
The Department, meanwhile, debunked reports on nCoV’s airborne transmission.
Domingo maintained that it is best to be aware of updates from authorized entities and for the public to be vigilant amid the ongoing outbreak.
“I did ask for information on this on the WHO office and they said that there’s nothing conclusive about it this time,” the official clarified.
“It is still being studied by the World Health Organization but of course precaution is still to be taken but until we are given hard evidence, right now, the WHO has not classified is as an airborne infection,” Domingo concluded. MNP (with inputs from Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported it has monitored around 488 clustering of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in different areas in the country.
The DOH said this means that an active transmission of virus is happening in these areas.
As of July 8, the department said that 379 of the clusters were reported in communities, 46 in health facilities, 24 in jails, and 39 in other areas.
The DOH also reported clustering of cases in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), at a construction site in Metro Manila and several barangays across the country.
It also said that event-based report showed that Metro Manila had six new barangays with clustering, and one each in Cebu City, Mandaue City, Palawan, and Albay.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines has recorded a total of 50,359 cases.
The DOH surmised that the continued increase in coronavirus infections in the country is not just attributed to improved testing as it may also be due to the clustering of cases and community transmission.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the spike in cases, especially in Metro Manila, is also probably due to increased physical contact following the easing of quarantine restrictions.
“Maaaring ang pagtaas ng mga cases sa Metro Manila ay dahil sa increased testing capacity at community transmission na ating nararanasan nang simulan ang pag ease ng community restrictions,” she said.
“Lalong napaiigting ang community transmission kung lax o hindi natin sinusunod ang minimum public health standards,” she added.
Vergeire said they are now closely monitoring possible clustering of coronavirus cases in different areas of the country.
The country’s coronavirus cases rose to 50,359 on Wednesday after the DOH reported additional 2,539 cases. The agency said that 1,922 of this figure were fresh or newly-validated while 617 were reported late.
The DOH also reported a total of 12,588 recovered patients and 1,314 fatalities.
Vergeire reiterated the agency’s appeal to the public to be more cautious and strictly observe health protocols such as the wearing of face mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing.
“This is our call to everybody, whether you be in the private or public sector. If you are going out and exposing yourself and your loved ones to an unseen enemy, protect yourself. by doing so, you protect your family, you protect your community, you protect the nation,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday called on employers from both the public and private sectors to strictly enforce minimum health standards to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in workplaces.
In a virtual press forum, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they issued the appeal after investigation by the DOH Epidemiology Team revealed there were lapses in the implementation of health protocols in some offices that reported COVID-19 cases.
The minimum health standards set by the government’s task force against COVID-19 include the wearing of face mask, observing physical distancing, among others.
“Bagama’t may physical distancing, mask and all pero kapag kumakain magkakasama sa pantry so noong pumutok ang impeksyon nakita na maybe some of them who ate in that pantry became positive,” she said.
Vergeire stressed that employers should make sure that these health protocols are strictly followed to prevent the transmission of the viral respiratory disease among their employees who physically report to work.
Amid the rising number of employees contracting coronavirus disease, the health official said the agency is discussing the conduct of random testing of workers as recommended by the research group from the University of the Philippines (UP).
The UP Research Team earlier made the proposal after more than 200 personnel of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3 tested positive for COVID-19.
Vergeire said the DOH is still weighing on the proposal as randomized testing is “resource intensive” and the country has limited resources amid the pandemic.
“Hindi ko pa alam kung kakayanin ng ating sistema, yung sinasabing randomized testing,” she said.
“And, for how long will do we do this, di ba? So pag ginawa natin iyan, sabi nga natin ang ating testing is a point in time event. So pag tinest kita ngayon, maaring bukas may bago ka ng exposure, itetest ba kita uli?” she added.
Vergeire also admitted that conducting contact tracing among MRT-3 passengers would be difficult given the number of people who ride the trains every day.
She said the DOH and the Inter-Agency Task Force are now studying other measures that may be implemented on mass transport apart from temporarily suspending operations.
“Kapag talagang widespread ang community transmission, ‘yung contact tracing hindi na talaga nagwo-work yan,” she said.
“Dito sa nangyari sa MRT na ito, gumagawa tayo ng ibang strategies for us to be able na ma-contain natin. Unang-una nagsara ang MRT. Pangalawa, lahat ng empleyadong apektado pati yung close contacts nila were all quarantined. Pangatlo, they are still trying to gather para ma-test pa rin yung ibang employees nila para somehow ma-contain natin,” she added.
Vergeire also stated that the DOH will release a new set of guidelines on COVID-19 expanded testing which will include more groups and individuals.
Under the current DOH protocol, COVID-19 tests are conducted on individuals manifesting symptoms, with exposure to COVID-19 positive patients, returning overseas Filipino workers as well as frontline workers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has changed its decision of mandatory deployment of barrio doctors to Cebu City, the new epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), following opposition to its planned augmentation of healthcare workers to the city.
On Monday (June 30), the DOH Region 6 in Western Visayas issued an order temporarily suspending the deployment of 40 rural doctors to the virus-stricken city.
The Regional Office maintained it will not lift the suspension unless concerns and issues raised by the healthcare workers and stakeholders are settled.
The DOH confirmed the action of its Regional Office in Western Visayas thus it decided to commission barrio doctors who will be sent to private hospitals in Cebu City on a voluntary basis after discussions with other DOH Regional Offices and hospital management in Western and Central Visayas.
“Meron naman tayong ipapadala kaya lang hindi na iyong nailista namin na pangalan. Voluntary na iyong magiging proseso [We will be deploying a team but not those who we previously listed. The process will now be voluntary],” confirmed DOH Undersecretary and Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“So among all of these DTTBs (Doctors to the Barrios) who are willing and amenable to these types of arrangements they are the ones who are going to be deployed to Region 7,” she added.
The DOH clarified that the main tasks of the augmentation force do not include surgery and other critical care functions that are assigned to resident doctors in Cebu.
“Hindi sila ilalagay sa mga areas na like operating rooms. Iyong mga may specialization na kailangan [They will not be assigned in areas like operating rooms but only those who have the needed specialization],” Vergeire explained.
“They would be supplemental to the Triage area. Sa mga outpatient units doon sila ilalagay [They will be assigned in the outpatient units],” she added.
Deployment of rural doctors or those under the ‘Doctor of the Barrios’ will be every two weeks.
They will be given two week rest every time they return to their localities to complete the required quarantine period. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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