Fearing infection, residents protest against coronavirus evacuees landing in Ukraine

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020   •   750

Residents in central Ukraine protested the arrival of a plane carrying evacuees from China’s Hubei province on Thursday (February 20), fearing they could be infected with the coronavirus despite authorities insisting there was no danger.

Protesters from the village of Novi Sanzhary blocked the road leading to a sanatorium where the evacuees are due to be held in quarantine for at least two weeks to make sure they were not carrying the virus.

Hundreds of police were dispatched to keep order.

The protest prompted President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to issue a statement reassuring Ukrainians that there was no danger, that the authorities had done everything possible to make sure the virus would not spread to Ukraine.

“But there is another danger that I would like to mention. The danger of forgetting that we are all human and we are all Ukrainian,” he said.

“Attempts to block routes, block hospitals, not allow Ukrainian citizens into Ukraine – this does not show the best side of our character. Especially when you consider that most passengers are people under 30 years of age. For many of us, they are almost like children.”

In addition to 45 Ukrainians, there were 27 citizens of Argentina on the plane that landed in Ukraine on Thursday, as well as citizens from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Costa Rica, and other countries.

The Ukrainian authorities say all passengers on board had been screened twice for the virus before being allowed to fly, but that was not enough to quell the protesters.

Ukraine has no confirmed cases of the virus.

China reported a drop in new cases in the province at the heart of the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, though the death toll so far at over 2,000 has made it one of the biggest global health emergencies in recent decades.

(Production: Vitality Hnidyy, Margaryta Chornokondratenko)

PH records 3 more deaths among patients with COVID-19 Omicron variant

Robie de Guzman   •   January 26, 2022

 

MANILA, Philippines – Three more deaths among patients who contracted the COVID-19 Omicron variant  were recorded in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

In a message to reporters, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the additional fatalities were elderly and all had underlying medical conditions.

The new fatalities raised the number of deaths from the Omicron variant to five.

“Three are seniors and all have comorbidities. One partially vaccinated, one unvaccinated, and the remaining three are still for verification,” Vergeire said.

The DOH earlier said that the highly transmissible Omicron variant is now predominant in Metro Manila and other areas, with its sub-variants BA.1 and BA.2 detected in the country.

The agency also stressed that while the Omicron variant mostly presents with asymptomatic and mild disease, data showed that the elderly, those with comorbidities, and unvaccinated are still most at risk for fatalities.

The first two deaths linked to the Omicron variant were also senior citizens with co-morbidities and unvaccinated against COVID-19.

The DOH said there are 535 confirmed Omicron variant cases in the country.

PNP intensifies crackdown vs fake COVID-19 test kits, other medical supplies

Robie de Guzman   •   January 26, 2022

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday said it will intensify its intelligence networking following the seizure of P150 million worth of fake COVID-19 antigen tests, face masks, and medicines used to treat COVID-19 symptoms in a warehouse in Manila.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said he has directed all police units to further monitor stores and warehouses in their areas of responsibility that are selling and stockpiling unregistered medical supplies.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday reported it confiscated thousands of Clungene COVID-19 antigen test kits, counterfeit LianHua Chinese herbal medicines, and fake 3M N95 face masks during a raid in a warehouse in San Miguel last January 21.

Authorities also found intellectual property rights infringed goods such as apparel from brands like Nike, Fila, Converse, Adidas, as well as Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags, wallets, phone accessories, and others. A Chinese national, who allegedly owns the facility, was arrested during the operation.

“We want to know the extent of their operation given the large number of confiscated items,” Carlos said.

“If these products did not undergo government agencies regulation, then we aren’t sure if they are safe for use,” he added.

The PNP chief vowed to take a more aggressive step in curbing the proliferation of these products, with the guidance of the Department of Health.

“The PNP will wage a crackdown to curb the proliferation of these fake medical items,” Carlos said.

The public is advised to only buy medical items from accredited pharmacies and other related outlets.

Unvaxxed, partially vaxxed NCR workers allowed to use public transport for 30 days

Robie de Guzman   •   January 26, 2022

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated employees in industries and establishments allowed to operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be allowed to ride public transport for 30 days, starting January 26.

In a joint statement, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the decision was reached during their meeting last Friday, January 21, after considering the vaccination coverage in the capital region.

“Within the 30-day window, partially vaccinated workers are still allowed to board public transportation,” the statement read.

“However, since partially unvaccinated individuals are still at risk given that they do not have complete protection against the virus as clarified by the Health Department, they are also not allowed to use public transportation if vaccination remains incomplete within the 30-day window,” it added.

The DOTr is implementing a “no vaccination, no ride” policy in public transportation vehicles while the NCR is under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and up. The NCR and other areas with high infection rates have been placed under Alert Level 3 until January 31.

DOTr Undersecretary for Administrative Service and official representative to the IATF Artemio Tuazon Jr. said that 30 days following the announcement of the new protocol, only workers in the NCR who are fully vaccinated are allowed to use public transportation.

Fully vaccinated refers to those who have completed the 2-dose primary series vaccination such as for the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, or Moderna brands; or the one-dose vaccination such as for the Janssen brand.

Tuazon added that the joint decision made by the DOLE, DILG, and the DOTr supports the government’s ongoing thrust to ramp up vaccination efforts, especially amid the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“This joint decision is also meant to support the vaccination drive of the entire government,” he said.

“We want our workers to get fully vaccinated especially now that there is no longer a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, and there is a threat of highly transmissible variants of the virus. We are giving our workers the time to get themselves vaccinated,” he added.

The DOTr official also maintained that the “no vaccination, no ride” policy is not discriminatory.

“As jointly decided by the DOLE, DILG, and DOTr, workers who will remain unvaccinated 30 days after the announcement are not being barred from their workplaces. They are simply not allowed to use public transportation, but can still use other means such as active transport, private vehicles, or company shuttle services,” said Tuazon.

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