DOH: No policy on expedited COVID-19 testing for gov’t officials

Robie de Guzman   •   March 23, 2020   •   409

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday clarified it has no policy on expedited testing for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) of selected government officials in the country.

In a statement, the DOH assured the public there is no policy for VIP treatment and that “all specimens are being processed on a first-in, first-out basis.”

But it said courtesy will be accorded to “officials holding positions of national security and public health.”

The statement was issued following reports that some politicians took COVID-19 tests despite being asymptomatic amid a limited number of test kits in the country.

The department also said that under its screening protocols, only the following are allowed to get tested for COVID-19:

  • Persons under investigation (PUI) with mild symptoms who are elderly, with underlying conditions, are immunocompromised; and
  • Admitted PUIS in severe and critical conditions.

“These are extraordinary times, but we are hopeful that with the arrival of 100,000 testing kits and accreditation of additional sub-national laboratories and dedicated COVID-19 referral hospitals, more cases will be detected and appropriately managed,” the DOH said.

As of Monday, the Philippines has reported 462 confirmed coronavirus infections, with 33 fatalities and 18 recoveries.

Duque: Pagbubukas ng klase sa Agosto, ligtas basta’t matitiyak ang minimum health standards

Robie de Guzman   •   May 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala si Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III na ligtas ang pagbubukas ng klase sa Agosto 24 basta’t maipatutupad ang kinakailangang minimum health standards sa mga paaralan.

Inihayag ni Duque ang kanyang opinyon nang hingan siya ng pahayag ni Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go sa isinagawang virtual hearing ng Senate Committee on Health and Demography ngayong Martes.

“Pag-aralan po namin maigi ito pero sa tingin po namin, ligtas naman po kung bubuksan natin ang klase by August 24. Ang kinakailangan po rito, siguraduhin lamang na ang lahat ng ating minimum standards for health ay nakatalaga,” ani Duque.

Kabilang aniya sa minimum health standards na kailangang masunod ay ang pagkakaroon ng physical distancing, palagiang paghuhugas at pagdi-disinfect ng mga kamay at pagkakaroon ng thermal scanner upang ma-check kung mataas ang temperatura ng katawan ng isang tao.

“Tingin ko magiging ligtas naman po ang pagbubukas ng ating pong mga paaralan at meron din po tayong evidence-based na atin pong titingnan gaya ng ginagawa po ng IATF,” ani Duque.

“We will continue to evaluate yung mga bilang ng mga kaso down to the barangay levels,” dagdag pa niya.

Una nang sinabi ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kanyang public address noong Lunes ng gabi na hindi siya papayag na muling magbalik-eskwela ang mga mag-aaral hangga’t walang natutuklasang bakuna kontra novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Sa paglilinaw naman ng Malakanyang ngayong Martes, ang pagkakaroon ng face-to-face o physical classes in classroom ang tinutulan ng Pangulo at tuloy pa rin naman ang pagbubukas ng academic schoolyear 2020-2021 sa Agosto.

Kung mananatili pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19 bandang Agosto, ipatutupad naman ng pamahalaan ang flexible blended learning sa lahat ng antas.

Kabilang sa paraang ito ang paggamit ng telebisyon at radyo upang maipagpatuloy ang edukasyon ng mga mag-aaral, lalo na sa mga nasa liblib na lugar at hindi maaabot ng internet.

“Kung hindi po talaga dumating ang new normal, at hindi mai-lift ang community quarantines, di po ibig sabihin na di na mag-aaral ang ating mga kabataan. Mayroon po tayong tinatawag na blended learning sangayon kay Sec. Briones ng DepEd, gagamitin po natin ang telebisyon, ang radio at ang internet para ipagpatuloy po ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan,” ani Roque.

Suportado naman ni Duque ang mga plano ng Department of Education (DepEd) upang maseguro ang kaligtasan at kalusugan ng mga mag-aaral.

Una nang sinabi ng DepEd na bukod sa pagsasagawa ng online classes, pinag-aaralan na rin nila sa ngayon ang iba’t ibang learning tools, work arrangement para sa mga guro at maging ang sistema ng assessment sa mga mag-aaral. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

No reports of COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers in the past 13 days – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reported a slowdown in the COVID-19 incidence among healthcare workers in the country since April 11.

To date, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers is at 2,369.

The number of recoveries is at 1,220 while medical professionals who succumbed to the disease tally at 31.

Nonetheless, the DOH is relieved that in the previous week, no healthcare worker contracted the virus.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, this development is evidence that chances of recovery from COVID-19 is high.

Likewise, no active cases of COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers remain in critical condition. 

Malaking tulong ang strict enforcement of infection prevention and control measures sa ating mga ospital sa pagsisiguro ng kaligtasan ng ating mga frontliners (Stirct enforcement of infection prevention and control measures in our hospitals helped a lot in ensuring the safety of our frontliners),” Vergeire said.

Healthcare workers are among the priority sectors in COVID-19 testing because of the nature of their job where the risk of infection is high. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Mayor Isko’s offer to all LGUs: free use of Manila’s online tax payment system

Maris Federez   •   May 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has offered the city’s online tax payment system to all local government units in the country for free.

A media advisory released on Saturday, May 23, said Moreno made the offer to help curb the potential exposure of taxpayers to novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

He said his counterpart in local government units nationwide may utilize the City of Manila’s online tax payment system for their respective cities or municipalities.

“Ako po ay nananawagan sa lahat ng mayor sa buong Pilipinas, municipal o city, kung gusto niyo lang, ino-offer namin para sa pangkahalatan na, kung gusto ninyong magkaroon din ng online payment bibigay namin sa inyo ng libre,” Domagoso said in his weekly Facebook Live program, The Capital Report.

In their recently launched website www.cityofmanila.ph, residents of Manila will be able to process their tax payments online.

“‘Yong buong program, ‘yong buong source code, nakuha ko ng libre, kagabi ‘yong may ari ng kumpanya kinausap ko, sabi ko may mga nag-iinquire sa aking mga mayor paano daw magagawa nila sa kanilang localities.  Eh napapayag ko po kagabi,” the mayor said.

He further said, “Sa mga local government units sa Pilipinas, if you want online payment sa tax, sa real property tax, sa business tax and other services kasi pong ito sa amin pati ‘yong healthcare, occupational health clearance, birth certificate, ma-o-online ‘yan, libre ko ring ibibigay sa inyo ‘yong halos na-save namin na daan-daang milyon na gastos.”

The advisory added that the cityofmanila.ph website will also soon offer birth certificates and community tax certificates online services. — /mbmf

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