France becomes 4th country to report 3,000 virus deaths

UNTV News   •   March 31, 2020   •   332

French health authorities reported 418 new deaths from coronavirus on Monday (March 30), taking the total to 3,024 or an increase of 16%, France becoming the fourth country to cross the 3,000 fatalities threshold after China, Italy, and Spain.

The daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities say they will very soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

Health agency director Jerome Salomon told a news conference that the number of cases had risen to 44,550, a rise of 11% in 24 hours.

Salomon said 5,107 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 10% compared to Monday, an increase speeding up again after slowing for two days.

(Production: Michaela Cabrera)

DSWD calls on LGUs to speed up liquidation report for release of SAP second tranche

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Wednesday urged local government units (LGU) to expedite the encoding and transmittal of their liquidation reports on the distribution of the first tranche of the government’s social amelioration project (SAP).

The DSWD said the liquidation reports from LGUs are necessary as this would be used for the validation of beneficiaries and checking of the disbursement for the release of SAP’s second tranche.

The SAP is part of the government’s efforts to assist families heavily affected by the community quarantines due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The liquidation report is vital in the process of validation as it includes the report of the disbursement (containing the photos of the recipients, Social Amelioration Card Forms, and amount of cash received); Report of Checks Issued and Report of Disbursements certified by the LGU accountant and approved by the Local Chief Executive; and a copy of the Official Receipt for the refund/return of unutilized SAP funds,” the department said in a statement.

The DSWD explained that the validation and vetting process by its field offices can only be done when the data per LGU have been submitted in its entirety.

The department noted that the process will take approximately 15 days since validation on municipal, provincial, and regional levels takes place at the field office levels.

The DSWD Central Office will then conduct cross-matching with other government agencies’ lists of beneficiaries to avoid duplicity and ineligibility. The process will take another seven days in order to ensure that the recipients are indeed among the SAP’s target beneficiaries.

“The DSWD is exhausting all means to shorten the vetting and validation process, however, we need the full cooperation of the LGUs in order to effect this,” it said.

The department said that of the 1,479 LGUs that have completed the first tranche of SAP, only 659 had submitted liquidation reports as of Wednesday.

The DSWD earlier said it is still awaiting guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for the distribution of the second tranche.

Your bubble is ready: plastic pods offer solution for COVID dining in France

UNTV News   •   May 21, 2020

For restaurateurs worrying how they can welcome back customers but keep them safe from COVID-19, a French designer has a solution: an oversized lampshade made of transparent plastic that encases a customer’s head as they eat.

The cylindrical device hangs from a cable on the ceiling, much like a lampshade, and has a scoop cut out of the back so that a diner can sit down and get back up without having to bend over double.

The designer behind the invention, Christophe Gernigon, said designs that are already on the market looked like booths in prison visiting rooms, so were not inviting for customers.

“I wanted to make it more glamorous, more pretty,” he said. His design will go into production next week, and he said he had received interest from France, Belgium, Canada, Japan and Argentina.

France is starting to relax some of the restrictions it imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Shops and hairdressers have re-opened, and some children are back at school.

But the government has yet to give the green light for the re-opening of restaurant and bars, which have been hit hard financially by the crisis, because they pose particular problems for disease control.

The Plex’Eat accessory will be produced by French company Sitour, with an average of 10,000 unit produced weekly, Sitour sales officer France de Souza said.

It will cost around 150 euros a piece, de Souza said, although the price is not yet fixed.

Diners cannot eat while wearing a surgical mask, and if tables were removed to ensure customers are a safe distance from each other, many owners say they would not be able to make enough money to cover their costs.

Mathieu Manzoni, owner of the H.A.N.D restaurant that serves American-style food not far from Paris’ Louvre museum, invited Gernigon to the restaurant this week to hear his pitch. Manzoni said he was planning to place an order.

“Will people like it? I can’t say but I want to believe that it can add something because I find it fun,” he said in his restaurant, which is open for takeaway orders only. (Reuters)

(Production: Noemie Olive, Antony Paone, Emilie Delwarde)

DOLE calls on contractors to open more jobs for displaced workers

Marje Pelayo   •   May 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that around 2.6 million Filipinos have lost their jobs after several industries closed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Metro Manila is now under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and several industries have been allowed to reopen including the construction industry, both private and public. 

Due to the crisis, DOLE is calling on all contractors to open more jobs to help those who were displaced by the COVID-19 crisis.

Dagdagan nila from 10 to 20 percent kumbaga sa kung maari gawing manualized yung mga workers wag munang mechanized sa halip na mag back-hoe magdagdag lang ng bente na workers,” asked Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. 

[Increase their workforce by 10 to 20 percent and if possible, they may opt to do the work manually to accommodate more workers instead of mechanized. Instead of using a back-hoe, they may employ more workers to do the job.]

According to DOLE, the construction industry under MECQ is allowed to operate at 100 percent manpower capacity.

Also, the Labor Department is encouraging contractors to provide their workers with barracks so they will no longer have to commute to and from their residences, especially these days when public transport remains suspended. 

Aside from that, DOLE has urged private companies to provide company shuttle services for their workers who are obliged to report to the sites. 

If a shuttle service is not possible, companies may set a different working arrangement for their workers; otherwise, they will be forced to remain non-operational. 

Kung hindi mo madala, kung wala kang transportation ay hindi makakapasok ang worker. Kapag hindi nakapasok ang worker, walang sweldo, [If you cannot provide transportation, your worker will not be able to come to work. Without work, they will not receive pay],” Bello explained.

Ngayon, kung hindi mo kayang i-provide ang transportation sa mga workers mo mapipilitan kang mag stop operations na, temporary closure na [Now, if you cannot provide transportation for your workers, then you will be forced to stop operations or temporary closure],” he added.

Employers are required to submit to DOLE as to which work adjustment scheme they prefer to implement for their workers.

Meanwhile, DOLE clarified that workers or employees are not obliged to take COVID-19 testing before returning to work except those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or those who had exposure to COVID-19 confirmed cases. –MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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