Duterte OKs ban on travelers from UK, 19 other countries over new COVID-19 variant – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020   •   1050

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommended expansion of the country’s entry ban on travelers coming from the United Kingdom to cover 19 other countries amid reported cases of a new variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in these areas, Malacañang said Tuesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said travelers from the UK are temporarily barred from entering the Philippines until January 15, 2021.

The travel ban has been extended to cover those coming from 19 other countries:

  • Denmark
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • The Netherlands
  • Hong Kong, SAR
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • South Korea
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Spain

Roque said the expanded travel restriction takes effect on December 30, 2020, 12:01 AM until January 15, 2021, covering all foreign travelers coming from, or transiting through, the said countries.

Passengers who are already in transit and are expected to arrive before December 30, 2020, 12:01 AM, from the 19 countries/areas listed above shall not be prohibited from entering the country but will be required to undergo an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result

“The Office of the President, upon the joint recommendation of the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs, may impose restrictions to travelers coming from other countries that report the presence of the new variant of COVID-19,” Roque said.

Outbound travel to countries with reported new variants shall be subject to exiting protocols of the Philippines and the entry protocols of the respective countries, he added.

Palace defends Duterte order to reduce number of holidays for 2021

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to cancel some traditional holidays for this year in a bid to spur the economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Proclamation No. 1107, Duterte moved to declare traditional holidays of Nov. 2, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31 as special working days “to encourage economic productivity by minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the order was based on the recommendation of the administration’s economic managers to support economic recovery.

“Napakatagal na po natin nakabakasyon. Halos isang taon na tayong nagbakasyon dahil sa COVID-19,” Roque said in a virtual briefing.

“Siguro naman po ngayong nandito na ang bakuna, hayaan naman nating maka-recover tayo for lost time,” he added.

The imposition of lengthy lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 has led the Philippine economy to a slump. The pandemic has also affected millions of workers and businesses.

Opposition lawmakers, however, called on Malacañang to reconsider its decision, saying the reclassification of traditional holidays into special working days will affect workers’ pay as they will no longer get additional holiday pay equal to 30 percent of their basic daily wage.

In response to their calls, Roque said that “nothing is etched in stone” and that there is still a possibility that this will change with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

“Pero tingnan po natin kung anong mangyayari, nothing is etched in stone naman po. Tingnan natin baka naman dahil may bakuna na eh makabalik na tayo sa dati at baka hindi na natin kinakailangan maghabol pa ‘no,” he said.

The Philippines on Monday started its COVID-19 immunization program following receipt of 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine, courtesy of the Chinese government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Karagdagang 5,000 doses ng Sinovac, ipadadala ng DILG sa Pasay City

Freema Gloria   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Sinimulan na rin ngayong araw (March 2) ang pagbabakuna sa mga healthworker sa Pasay City General Hospital (PCGH) gamit ang inisyal na 300 doses ng Sinovac vaccine na ipinadala ng national government.

Unang nagpabakuna sa nasabing ospital si DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya. Aniya, ito ay upang makahiyakat sa publiko na magpabakuna rin.

“Papaano mahihikayat yung ating mga kababayan na magpabakuna kung mismong yung gaya namin na humihikayat sa kanila ay hindi nagpapabakuna. Kaya namin ginagawa ito” sabi ni Malaya.

Sinabi rin ni Usec. Malaya, nangako ang Department of Interior and Local Government na magpapadala ito ng karagdagang 5,000 doses ng bakuna sa PCGH.

Dagdag pa ni Malaya, batid ng pamahalaan ang hamon sa lungsod ng Pasay kung paano nito nilulutas ang pagkalat pa ng COVID-19 sa lungsod. Kaya nais ng pamahalaan na mabakunahan ang lahat ng frontliners sa Pasay City.

Ayon naman kay Dr. John Victor de Gracia, ang deputy chief ng clinical service ng PCGH, nasa mahigit 400 ang kanilang empleyado, ngunit nasa 100 lamang ang boluntaryong nagpabakuna ng Sinovac. Karamihan umano sa kanila ang mas piniling magpabakuna sa vaccine na gawa ng Pfizer.

Gayunpaman, malaking tulong na rin sa kanila ang bakunang ipinagkaloob sa kanila ng pamahalaan.

“This is really a big help for us because this is another line of protection for us” sabi ni De Gracia.

Sa ngayon, nasa 77 na barangay na ang isinailalim sa localized enhanced community quarantine .

Tatlo rin sa mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant na unang natuklasan sa South Africa ay mga residente ng naturang lungsod.

Ngunit ayon kay Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto, gumagaling na ang mga nagpositibo sa COVID-19 variant at bumababa na rin ang positivity rate o ang bilang ng mga nagpositibo sa lungsod.

“Doon sa barangays na may South African variant ay aming uulitin ang pagti-test upang makasigurado tayo doon sa naging positive at doon sa mga na-contat trace natin” sabi ni Mayor Calixto.

Nagdagdag na rin ang DILG ng mga contact tracer upang mas mabilis ang pagtunton sa mga nakasalamuha ng mga nagpositibo sa sakit. — Rey Pelayo

Duterte to wait for FDA approval before using Sinopharm vax – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will wait for China-state-owned Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine to secure an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before receiving a dose, his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after the FDA confirmed that it has received Sinopharm’s application for an EUA that was filed on Monday afternoon.

“Mag-aantay po si president ng EUA dahil nabalita ko nga kahapon, mayroon na pong nag-apply ng EUA for the Sinopharm,” Roque said in a press briefing.

Securing an EUA from the FDA is part of the process for a vaccine to be legally used in the country.

The FDA earlier approved a compassionate use license for 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines for the members of the Presidential Security Group.

The agency, however, clarified that the issuance of such a permit is not tantamount to a stamp of approval.

Duterte earlier expressed a preference for Sinopharm developed COVID-19 vaccines. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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