DOH bans use of vapes, e-cigarettes in public places

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2019   •   2611

FILE PHOTO: Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has banned the use of vapes and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in public places.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on June 14 signed the Administrative Order (AO) 2009-0007 which prohibits the use of vapes (vaporizers) and e-cigarettes, as well as tasking local government units to apprehend violators.

The order imposes penalties on violators, depending on local ordinances enforced by the town or city where the smoker was apprehended.

The signing of the AO comes two years after President Rodrigo Duterte issued the Executive Order 25 which bans cigarette smoking in public and limits it to designated smoking areas.

This order will expand the smoking ban in public places to include vapes and e-cigarettes. Manufacturing, distribution and sale of vapes and related items will also be regulated.

The move follows the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to regulate or ban the use of e-cigarettes and related products once it is proven that these also contain cancer-causing chemicals that are found in traditional cigarettes.

“We need to regulate this. We need to make sure that the nicotine delivery system as well as the electronic non-nicotine system kasama iyong e-cig, mga vapes at ng lahat ng mga ito will be subject to regulatory control,” Duque told reporters in an interview during the relaunching of DOH’s school-based immunization program on Wednesday.

The DOH said the AO is seen to take effect next month after it is published in a national publication. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

6 lugar na may mataas na kaso ng COVID-19, patuloy na binabantayan – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Anim na lugar sa bansa ang patuloy ngayong binabantayan ng Department of Health dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng kaso ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, kabilang sa mga ito ang Manila at Quezon City sa Metro Manila. Apat naman ang binabantayan sa Central Visayas – ang Cebu Province, Cebu City, Mandaue at Lapu Lapu City.

“These are the top 6 na tinitingnan natin for this past week, nakakapagtala tayo ng maraming kaso. But of course, there are other areas that we are strictly monitoring because walang kaso tapos nagkaroon,” ani Vergeire.

“Sa Cebu City we have 64 Barangays na found to have clusters, sa Nationl Capital Region we have 314 barangays reported to have these clusters of cases,” dagdag pa niya.

Tinukoy rin ng health official ang ilang uri ng pampublikong transportasyon sa Metro Manila kung saan malaki ang tiyansa na magkaroon ng hawaan ng sakit dahil sa closed setting nito.

“We also have identified three closed settings dito sa National Capital Region, kasama na diyan iyon ang MRT na binabantayan natin sa ngayon,” ani Vergeire.

“Iyon pa rin, the basic rule in a quarantine, kahit anong level pa ng quarantine… Ang basic principle natin naka-quarantine tayo so kung wala kang kailangan gawin sa labas, wag kang lumabas ng bahay. You stay at home,” dagdag pa niya. “Second would be hindi dapat tayo dapat nagtravel beyond sa puntahan natin, dont go to areas with identified community transmission.”

Ayon sa DOH, ang patuloy na pagtaas ng kaso ay posibleng bunsod ng madalas na pagkakaroon ng physical contact kasunod ng pagluwag ng ipinatutupad na quarantine measures sa bansa.

Sa kasalukuyan, mayroon nang kabuuang 46,333 COVID-19 cases sa bansa. Batay sa pinakahuling ulat ng DOH, 32,845 sa mga ito ang aktibong kaso, 12,185 naman ang naka-recover samantalang nasa 1,303 ang bilang ng nasawi mula sa nakakahawang sakit. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOH deploys 15 doctors to Cebu City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 29, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) deployed 15 doctors to Cebu City under their Doctors to the Barrio (DTTB) Program on Monday (June 29).

During an interview on ‘Get it Straight with Daniel Razon’, DOH Region 7 Spokesperson Dr. Jean Loreche assured that the doctors will receive proper training and compensation.

“Right now we have in our list six doctors to the barrios, dalawa ang deputized physicians natin. Mayroon po tayong from the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] na seven po na ipapadala po nila from Luzon to be able to augment manpower here in Cebu City, she said.

The DTTB earlier slammed the DOH for its “abrupt exploitative order” in deploying doctors to Cebu City, saying the doctors were not properly informed about the situation.

“The DTTBs and the local chief executives should have been represented in decision-making involving this temporary reassignment. Failing to do so makes such directives exploitative for doctors and inconsiderate for the communities that they serve. There is complete disregard to the concerns of the doctors and the local chief executives,” the DTTB said in a statement on Sunday (June 28).

The DOH, meanwhile, defended that the the temporary deployment of doctors will help address the overwhelmed capacity of private hospitals in Cebu City.

“Cebu City’s health care system is overwhelmed with patient load at the moment,” according to the DOH statement on Monday.

Loreche, however, reported that the region’s health care system can still manage the surge of cases in Cebu City, contrary to the report of the DOH Central Office.

The DOH Region 7 official also reiterated that the surge of cases is due to the categorized testing they conducted last May where 45,000 residents underwent COVID-19 testing.

“So ito pong mga numero na nakikita natin ngayon dito sa Cebu City, ito lang po ay a reflection of the zero prevalence data na ginawa namin,” Loreche said.

The DOH Central earlier reported that the critical care utilization in Cebu City has already reached critical level which prompted the deployment of rural doctors to the area.

There are currently over 5,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cebu City. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH targets to reach 1 million COVID-19 tests until end of July

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 29, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) is targeting to reach one million coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests by the end of July, amid the surge of confirmed cases in the country.

The Health Department has already conducted over 675,485 COVID-19 tests since the outbreak. The department also reported 69 licensed testing laboratories in the country.

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Rosario Vergeire said they are confident of reaching the one million target.

“We are seeing na ma-attain natin itong one million na ito pagdating ng end of July (We are seeing that we can attain one million by the end of July) because as of now, we already have about 600,000 plus na nate-test na po sa buong Pilipinas mula nung nag umpisa tayo mag-test, (600,000 plus people have already been tested in the Philippines since we began conducting COVID-19 testing),” she said.

The national government previously said it is targeting to test around two percent or almost two million of the total population.

Meanwhile, the DOH has already announced that they will expand the COVID-19 testing in the country. This will include other subgroups such as medical frontliners, barangay health workers, personnel at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), persons deprived of liberty (PDL), and sick patients.

As of Sunday (June 29), the DOH reported 35,455 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country with 9,686 recoveries. Death toll, meanwhile, is at 1,244. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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