Gatchalian, Binay test negative for coronavirus

Robie de Guzman   •   March 17, 2020   •   708

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay

MANILA, Philippines – Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay on Tuesday announced they tested negative for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In separate statements, Gatchalian and Binay both confirmed they are not infected with the virus, and thanked everyone for their prayers, support and encouraging messages.

The two legislators earlier submitted themselves to a voluntary home quarantine after a resource person who later tested positive for the virus attended a Senate hearing they were both in.

The Senate was closed earlier for disinfection, but Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the upper chamber will remain “business as usual” to ensure that legislative work would continue even while community quarantine is being enforced.

Gatchalian said that with his negative test result, he is now ending his self-quarantine.

“After submitting myself to a COVID-19 test last Friday, I’m happy to announce today that I tested negative for the virus. Thus, I am ending my self-quarantine,” he said in a Facebook post.

Binay, however, said she will continue to stay home and finish her 14-day quarantine.

“I will still continue with my 14-day quarantine. Hindi pa po tapos ang laban natin kontra sa COVID-19, and we don’t want to have a false sense of security,” she wrote on her Facebook account.

The two senators also called on the public to seriously follow the regulations set by the government, including strict social distancing, practicing of proper hygiene, and home quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of work to be done especially in the middle of this crisis while the number of infected cases continues to rise. We must pool our resources together to fight this dreaded virus. Hinihikayat ko po ang lahat na sumunod sa mga panuntunan na inilatag ng ating gobyerno para hindi na lumobo ang bilang ng mga kaso ng COVID-19,” Gatchalian said.

“COVID-19 is a serious matter. Let’s take the necessary precautions in protecting ourselves for the sake of our families and everyone else,” Binay said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon region under enhanced community quarantine from March 17 to April 12.

The Philippines has so far recorded 142 coronavirus infections with 12 deaths.

Swiss graffiti artist pays tribute to frontline worker ‘super-heroes’

UNTV News   •   April 7, 2020

Swiss artist David Perez alias “S.I.D.” paid tribute on Sunday (April 5), to the “everyday super-heroes” working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic, by painting a giant portrait representing a cashier on Gland town’s walls.

“Today, I will especially pay tribute to cashiers. They are on the frontline with nurses and others. So, it is for our everyday super-heroes”, the 35 years-old graffiti artist told Reuters.

All the residents of the Swiss town of Gland, located between Lausanne and Geneva, who pass through this underground tunnel can also admire a portrait of a nurse that SID did two weeks ago.

A few meters away, there is now a cashier wearing a mask and scanning a bottle of liquid soap, which took the artist 5 hours to make.

“The symbolic is very strong and this is really beautiful”, said local resident Coline Bovet, who was on a walk with her husband and had the surprise to find SID at work.

The cashier was modelled by one of SID’s friends, 25 years old Manuela Perrone, who does not work at a supermarket but just wanted to pay tribute to workers in contact with the public and possible contamination.

On the bottle of soap that the cashier is holding, the artist wrote “thank you”.

SID said he plans to draw other giant portraits of workers in the coming weeks, such as construction workers or garbage collectors. (REUTERS CONNECT)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani and Denis Balibouse)

PNP to implement 50-50 work scheme due to COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 6, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will implement a 50-50 work scheme among personnel who are based at the national headquarters in Camp Crame.

This is due to the rising number of PNP personnel who have become patients under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat.

The 50-50 work scheme would use 50 percent or the first batch of personnel to go on duty at the administrative office until April 19 while the second batch will go on duty from April 20 to May 3.

According to a memorandum issued on April 4, the heads of offices/units with essential functions shall determine the work scheme applicable to the personnel, as long as they should observe a 14-day self-quarantine/isolation as part of the PNP’s health protocol.

“Maaaring magpatupad sila ng kani-kanilang scheduling para hindi naman maapektuhan ang ating normal functions,” said PNP Spokesperson Bernard Banac.

Meanwhile, police personnel who are aged 45 years old and above will have to be pulled out from the checkpoint areas.

“Mas vulnerable sila sa COVID-19 (They are more vulnerable to COVID-19),” Banac said.

The PNP will also launch Admin Support to COVID-19 Task Force (ASCoTF) to ensure an organized and speedy logistics, response, and development of frontliners.

The PNP has already recorded 19 police personnel that tested positive for COVID-19 with two deaths.

The total number of persons under monitoring (PUMs) in the PNP has already reached more than 1,300. — AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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UK PM Johnson admitted to hospital as Britain enters third week of lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital in London on Monday (April 6) suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, but Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.

Johnson, 55, had been isolating in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus last month, was taken to hospital on Sunday night because he still had a high temperature and his doctors felt he needed additional tests.

Meanwhile, Britain entered its third week in lockdown with authorities warning they will have to impose further restrictions on outdoor exercise if people continued to flout rules designed to curb transmission of the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “unbelievable” to see a small minority flouting the government’s advice to maintain social-distancing.

Hancock said if people did not follow the rules, which allow people to walk, run or cycle outdoors once a day but not sunbathe, he would have to ban exercise of all forms outside the home.

He said the timetable to ease restrictions – the lockdown exit strategy – could only be agreed once the spread of the coronavirus had been brought under control.

Other European countries such as Italy and France have imposed tougher restrictions on people leaving their homes. (REUTERS CONNECT)

(Production: Gerhard Mey, Ben Makori.)

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