Experts detect 16 additional UK-variant cases in Phl

Maris Federez   •   January 23, 2021   •   262

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH), UP-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) have confirmed the detection of the B.1.1.7 SARS-Cov-2 variant in 16 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 17.

The DOH said in a statement on Friday (January 22) that 12 of the 16 additional cases of B.1.1.7, or more commonly called UK variant, are from Bontoc, Mountain Province, consisting of seven males and five females. Three are aged below 18 years old and another three are above 60.

Contact tracing was immediately initiated to contain the spread of the infection with investigation still underway to identify these cases’ exposure and travel histories, it added.

The health department also reported that the two other patients with the UK variant are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who arrived on December 29, 2020 from Lebanon, one of the countries included in the travel restrictions due to the detection of the B.1.1.7 variant. They were aboard Philippine Airlines flight PR 8661.

The first case, a 64-year old female whose indicated local address is Jaro, Iloilo City, was isolated in San Juan, Metro Manila and was discharged on January 9. The other, a 47-year old Filipina whose reported local address is Binangonan in Rizal, was quarantined in New Clark City and discharged from isolation on January 13.

The last two B.1.1.7 variant cases are local cases detected in La Trinidad, Benguet, currently admitted in a Benguet Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility; and in Calamba City, Laguna who had been discharged after receiving a negative result on January 16.

The DOH said both have no known contact to any confirmed case or travel history from outside the country.

Of the additional 16 cases with B.1.1.7 variant detected, 3 have already recovered, 13 are active cases—3 of which are asymptomatic and 10 are exhibiting mild symptoms.

Meanwhile, the local government of Bontoc has urged the public to intensify adherence to basic health protocols.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey said lockdown is still in effect.

“Rest assured that the LGU is doing its best to help deter further spread. We will update you as soon as possible as to intensified measures that the MIATF would be undertaking. Official statements and updates shall be released by DOH, PLGU and MLGU,” Odsey said.

The local chief executive also appealed for everyone to “cooperate and let us keep safe. Let us all be part of the solution. Together, we shall overcome. We work as One; we heal as One!”

The health department ensured the public that biosurveillance is in place and will continue to expand its capacities to detect all COVID variants of public health importance.

“The DOH calls on local government units to ensure strict monitoring and compliance to quarantine protocols in their respective localities. The DOH also reiterates that non-adherence and incorrect adherence to minimum public health standards (MPHS) are the drivers of transmission and mutation and therefore strongly urges the public to strictly and properly follow the MPHS in all settings,” the health department advisory concluded.—/mbmf

Pasay City mayor open to possible city-wide ECQ to curb rising COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano on Thursday said she will not object should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) decide to place the entire city under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In an online media briefing, Rubiano said the city government is doing its best to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases.

She added that they have already looked into the idea of placing the city under ECQ upon learning of the detection of the more contagious COVID-19 variant, initially reported in South Africa in Pasay.

Rubiano, however, noted that placing Pasay City under ECQ will have an impact on the entire National Capital Region since the city is considered as a travel hub.

“Ang impact kasi ay nasa entire NCR dahil nakita niyo po at siyempre sa country na rin dahil nandidito po sa amin ang airport, MRT, LRT,” she said.

“Travel hub po kami at yung domestic air travel will be cancelled while international travel will be restricted,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rubiano confirmed that four residents of Pasay have tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant but all of them have already recovered.

The mayor also said that the patients were under quarantine when results of their tests came out.

“Yes po, recovered na pero inuulit po namin ang kanilang swab nang makasigurado po tayo. Na-isolate po namin agad sila pati po na-contact trace,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to arrive on March 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility are set to arrive on Thursday night (March 4), according to Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go.

In a statement, Go said President Rodrigo Duterte will personally witness the arrival of the said vaccines. Go added that medical frontliners will now have the option to choose the brand of COVID-19 vaccine they want to receive.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. also confirmed it’s arrival, further explaining that the shipment is part of the first round of allocated doses from the COVAX facility.

The vaccines were initially scheduled to arrive on March 1 but was delayed due to “supply problems.”

Go, meanwhile, hopes for the continuous rollout of the country’s vaccination program and encouraged the public to register for vaccination.

Sana po ay tuloy-tuloy na po ang pagro-rollout ng pagbabakuna at dapat nating kunin ang kumpyansa ng mamamayan na ang tanging solusyon, ang tanging susi ay ang bakuna lamang para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal nating pamumuhay, (I hope the vaccination rollout will continue and we should get the trust of our citizens which is the solution, the key for our lives to return to normal),” he said. AAC (witth reports from Harlene Delgado)

Cinemas in GCQ areas to reopen on March 5 with limited capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Cinemas and other recreational establishments in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas will reopen on March 5, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Based on the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-08, s. 2021, cinemas in GCQ areas will only have a 25% capacity and moviegoers will not be allowed to eat and drink inside. Facemask must be worn at all times.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a statement, said this is to help businesses to recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as well as to provide more jobs for Filipinos.

“Following the earlier agreement at the IATF, DTI issued the circular that will guide the implementation of a safe and gradual reopening of more businesses and economic activities. This is part of our mandate to ensure that as more businesses reopen to provide more jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, the strict health protocols are enforced,” he said.

Meanwhile, cinemas will be able to operate at 50% capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Libraries, museums, and parks are allowed at 75% capacity.

Lopez also reiterated minimum health standards will still be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, especially while the government continues to reopen establishments for the country’s economic recovery. -AAC (with reports from JP Nunez)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.