EU assures PH to receive COVID-19 vaccines amid export restrictions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 3, 2021   •   601

MANILA, Philippines—The European Union (EU) assured to provide the Philippines with COVID-19 vaccines.

This was after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that the EU has been holding up AstraZeneca vaccines by imposing export restrictions on various countries.

In a statement, the EU assured that Philippines is not among the countries with exportation restrictions. It also vowed to keep its promise of delivering COVID-19 vaccines to low and middle-income countries.

“The authorization mechanism for exports of COVID-19 vaccines include a wide range of exemptions from prior authorization, to ensure the EU continues to fully honor its commitments to deliver the vaccine to our direct neighborhood and to 92 low and middle-income countries, including the Philippines, covered by the COVAX facility,” the EU said in a statement.

During his public address on Monday (February 1), Duterte said it is easy for the EU to restrict COVID-19 vaccines by imposing new measures, making it difficult for countries like the Philippines to get vaccines.

 “Iyong AstraZeneca, hinostage ng European Union, (AstraZeneca was held hostage by the European Union),” he said.

“We are not really as powerful as the EU, wala tayong connection, wala tayong pera (we don’t have connections, we don’t have money) Duterte added.” AAC

Philippines records 9,227 new COVID-19 cases; 19,699 recoveries

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Wednesday registered 9,227 new novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, bringing the total caseload to 962,307, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

The DOH said the latest tally pushed the country’s active cases to 116,434.

The tally, however, does not include data from eight laboratories that failed to submit their reports on time.

Ngayong 4 PM, Abril 21, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 9,227 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The DOH also announced 19,699 new recovered patients, bringing the total number of recoveries to 829,608.

The death toll climbed to 16,265 with 124 new fatalities.

PH gov’t urged to build more facilities instead of using schools as quarantine sites, hospitals

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called on the national government to expedite the construction of quarantine centers and field hospitals, instead of using school buildings for COVID-19 patients, to ease the burden on the country’s health care system.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, said that using schools as isolation facilities “is not sustainable and does not foster a culture of safety in the basic education system.”

“Ang mabilis na pagpapatayo ng mga field hospitals at mga quarantine centers ang isang paraan upang mabigyan natin ng agarang atensyon ang mga kababayan nating nagkakasakit,” he said in a statement.

“Imbes na masanay tayong gumamit ng mga paaralan bilang isolation facilities o evacuation centers, ang dapat nating tiyakin ay ang pagkakaroon ng sapat at angkop na mga pasilidad para sa mga nangangailan ng tulong medikal,” he added.

The senator also pointed out that before the pandemic, the prolonged use of school facilities in times of disasters, such as evacuation centers during calamities, tends to delay the resumption of classes.

Gatchalian pitched anew his proposal to build an evacuation center in every city and municipality in the country, which is stated in Senate Bill No. 747 that he filed in 2019.

Under the proposed measure, these evacuation centers will provide temporary accommodation for people who have been evacuated or displaced from their homes due to emergencies, including the outbreak of illnesses and diseases.

The Department of Education earlier said it has allowed some schools in the country to be used as quarantine facilities for suspected coronavirus cases to help decongest hospitals from COVID-19 admission. Other schools were also being used as vaccination sites.

The department also stressed that its terms and conditions should be satisfied and that compliance with quarantine guidelines should be ensured before a school can be converted into a quarantine facility.

The use of public schools as a quarantine facility or vaccination site should also be the “last option,” stressing the need to ensure the safety of personnel who report for work on-site.

US advises citizens vs traveling to PH due to COVID-19 situation

Maris Federez   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines –The United States (US) government has issued an advisory for its citizens to avoid travel to the Philippines due to a “high-level” of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the Philippines due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country,” the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) announced in its website.

The CA said that aside from COVID-19, crimes, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping are among the reasons cited by the CDC in placing the Philippines on Level 4 advisory.

The bureau advises US citizens to exercise increased caution in going to the Philippines, and to “read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.”

“There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into the Philippines,” the CA said.

The Do Not Travel advisory specifically indicated the Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping; and Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.

It also advised to Reconsider Travel to other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.

The State Department added that should US citizens decide to travel to the Philippines, they must visit the U.S. Embassy’s webpage regarding COVID-19, the CDC’s webpage on Travel and COVID-19, monitor local media for breaking events, and adjust their plans based on new information, and other follow other precautions specified.

Countries that were issued a Level 4 travel warning include Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and Spain among others.  —/mbmf

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