First ‘green lane’ for seafarers in Asia now open in the Philippines

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2020   •   1478

MANILA, Philippines — The country has opened the first “green lane” for seafarers in Asia to allow the free movement of seafarers and personnel across borders.

The Philippine Green Lane Joint Circular, which took effect upon signing on Thursday (July 2), was created by the Philippine government to ensure that seafarers are accorded speedy and safe travel, subject to health protocols mandated by the Philippine government.

It intends to provide safe and swift disembarkation and crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for both Filipino and foreign seafarers whether inbound, outbound or transiting.

The Joint Circular will also facilitate the creation of controlled travel corridors to open the Philippines for people-to-people and economic exchange and stimulate the country’s economy amidst its ongoing bout against the pandemic.

The signing ceremony was held at the Department of Foreign Affairs office led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin together with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and representatives from the Department of Health Bureau of Quarantine among other officials.

Philippines posts 37,070 new COVID-19 cases; active tally at 290K

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Monday logged 37,070 additional cases of COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) said, pushing the country’s total confirmed cases to 3,242,374 since the pandemic started.

Data released on Monday showed that about 36,001 of the new cases occurred between January 4 to January 17.

Most of the cases were recorded in Metro Manila, CALABARZON, and Central Luzon.

This is the sixth straight day that the country logged more than 30,000 new infections, and the fourth day that it announced record-high cases – 39,004 cases last Saturday, 37,207 on Friday, and 37,154 on Sunday.

The new tally brought the number of active infections to 290,938, the DOH said.

Of the newly reported cases, 9,187 were asymptomatic, 277,020 were mild, 2,947 were moderate, 1,480 were severe, and 304 were in critical condition.

The positivity rate was at 46% based on 77,410 tests administered on January 15.

The DOH reported 23 more fatalities, pushing the number of COVID-related deaths to 52,929.

There were 33,940 more recoveries, raising the total number to 2,898,507.

Twelve laboratories were not able to submit their data on time. These facilities contribute on average 5.1% of the samples tested and 5.1% of positive cases.

The utilization rate of intensive care units in use nationwide was at 49% while 58% in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Isolation beds being utilized across the country was at 47%, and 48% in NCR.

Ventilators in use in the capital region was at 22% and 30% in the capital region.

COVID-19 among leading causes of death in PHL in 2021 – PSA

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is among the top three causes of death in the Philippines in 2021, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Monday.

The PSA said that from January to October 2021, the leading causes of death in the country were ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and deaths due to COVID-19.

The agency said that during this period, ischaemic heart diseases were the top cause of death with 110,332 cases or 18.3 percent of the total deaths in the country.

“This indicated an increase of about 28.0 percent from the 86,164 deaths or 16.9 percent of the total deaths in the same period of 2020,” it added.

The second top cause of death is cerebrovascular diseases with 58,880 deaths (9.7% share of the total) during the said period.

The PSA said this is 10.9 percent higher than the 53,082 cases recorded in the same period in 2020.

Deaths due to COVID-19 with virus identified was ranked as the third leading cause which accounted for 51,514 deaths (8.5% share), rising from rank 15 with 7,357 deaths (1.4% share) in the same period of 2020.

The PSA, however, noted that it separated COVID-19 cases under two classifications — COVID-19 with virus identified and COVID-19 virus not identified. Both were included in the top 10 leading causes of death in the country.

Registered deaths due to COVID-19 with virus not identified accounted for 23,771 or 3.9 percent of the total deaths from January to October 2021, making it the 8th leading cause of death.

Registered deaths due to COVID-19 accounted for a total of 75,285 deaths or 12.5 percent of the total registered deaths from January to October 2021.

 

Figure 1. All Causes of Mortality (Top 20), Philippines, January to October, 2020 and 2021

The PSA said that the National Capital Region (NCR) registered the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 with 18,044 or 24.0 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths from January to October 2021.

CALABARZON ranked second with 16,630 deaths or 22.1%, while Central Luzon came in third with 14,252 deaths (18.9%).

Figure 3. COVID-19 Deaths in NCR Jan to Oct 2021

Other top leading causes of death in the country are neoplasms or cancer with 48,937 recorded cases from January to October 2021, and diabetes mellitus with 38,584 cases, the PSA said.

Philippines updates protocols for arriving international passengers

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has updated the entry protocols for arriving international passengers, Malacañang announced Friday.

Acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) approved the recommendations of the sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics and the Technical Advisory Group to amend the testing and quarantine protocols for passengers arriving from countries classified as “Green,” “Yellow,” and Red” as provided for under IATF Resolution No. 154-C (s.2021).

Under the updated protocols, fully vaccinated passengers from Green list countries will be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall no longer be required to observe mandatory facility-based quarantine but shall self-monitor for any sign or symptom for 7 days with the first day being the date of arrival

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required of the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • They shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day
  • After which, they are enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms for 14 days, with the first day being the date of arrival

The following areas have been classified as Green or low-risk for COVID-19:

  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • British Virgin Islands
  • China (Mainland)
  • Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Taiwan
  • Timor-Leste (East Timor)
  • Uganda

Meanwhile, the protocols for fully vaccinated passengers arriving from Yellow List areas shall be as follows:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released for completion of home quarantine up to the 7th day from the date of arrival

Passengers who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released for completion of home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival

The Philippine government has also allowed Filipino travelers from Red list areas to enter the country, subject to entry, quarantine, and testing protocols as determined by the IATF.

Fully vaccinated passengers from Red territories shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test taken on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • Once with a negative result, they may be released from facility quarantine, provided the completion of home quarantine up to the 14th day from the date of arrival

For individuals who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated, they shall be required to do the following:

  • Present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departure from the country of origin
  • Upon arrival, they shall undergo facility-based quarantine with an RT-PCR test done on the 7th day, with the date of arrival being the first day
  • They may be discharged only upon the completion of a 10-day facility-based quarantine, regardless of a negative RT-PCR result, and shall observe home quarantine until the 14th day, with the date of arrival being the first day

The following areas are under the Red list or high-risk for COVID-19:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Canada
  • Curacao
  • French Guiana
  • Iceland
  • Malta
  • Mayotte
  • Mozambique
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Spain
  • US Virgin Islands

“Dahil nga po meron na po tayong cases ng Omicron at marami po tayong mga kababayan na nasa Red List countries na gusto nang umuwi at base sa dati nating protocols na kailangan po ng Bayanihan Flights para sila ay makauwi… nagkaroon po ng desisyon ang IATF na itong mga kababayan natin mula sa Red List countries ay payagan na nating umuwi, bumalik dito without the need for Bayanihan Flights,” Nograles said.

The Palace official has clarified that the new policy does not cover international tourists.

The latest country risk classification is effective from January 16 to 31, 2022.

 

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