Gatchalian calls on Chinese schools to suspend classes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 31, 2020   •   423

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is urging Chinese schools to suspend classes after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Thursday (January 30) the first case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country.

“Because the case of mainland Chinese coming from China, the probability of them carrying the coronavirus is very high. So immediately, Chinese schools should suspend their classes, especially the ones who have high number of Chinese students,” he said.

Gatchalian also called on the government to consider a complete ban on travelers coming from China.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (January 31) imposed a travel ban from Wuhan City and Hubei province, China which is the ground zero novel coronavirus.

“Upon the recommendation of DOH [Department of Health] Secretary Francisco Duque, the President has issued a travel ban to Chinese nationals coming from the Hubei province of China where the nCoV originated, as well as in other places in China where there is a spread of the disease,” Presidential Spkoesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.—AAC

Metro Manila may be placed under GCQ in June —Sec. Lorenzana

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — National Task Force Against Covid-19 chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday (May 24) said that Metro Manila may possibly be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) in June.

With this, Metro Manila residents may expect more relaxed quarantine restrictions to be implemented next month.

Lorenzana said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has been discussing the readiness of the capital region for it to be transitioned to GCQ from the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“More likely mag-gi-GCQ na tayo by June 1,” the defense chief said.

He added that areas that still have novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases will remain under their control.

“Ang pinag-uusapan namin sa IATF, eh mag-GCQ, pero ‘yung mga areas na meron pa ring… mga infection baka ‘yun na lang ang ikontrol ng konti,” Lorenzana said.

The areas that will be placed under GCQ are those that are considered to be at low risk of COVID-19. With this, more industries will be allowed to operate.

Lorenzana insists that although recorded COVID-19 cases has been going down everyday, quarantine measures must remain to prevent the second wave of the infection.

“We would like to impress in our people ‘yung self-discipline, para masanay sila na ito na ‘yung new normal, na social distancing, wearing of face mask, sanitation,” the official said.

Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. has earlier mentioned about the planned “zoning concept” or the measure that will limit the implementation of a lockdown in an area based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. —(with details from Victor Cosare) /mbmf

WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day, cases near five million

UNTV News   •   May 21, 2020

The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday (May 20) for the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations emerge from lockdown.

The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began, as the total number of cases world-wide approached five million.

Speaking at a news conference, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that two thirds of those cases had come from just four countries.

The WHO has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump, who accuses it of having mishandled the outbreak and favouring China. This week Trump threatened to withdraw from the WHO and permanently withhold funding.

Tedros acknowledged having received a letter from Trump, but declined to comment further.

In comments that could annoy Trump further, the head of the WHO’s emergency programme, Dr. Mike Ryan, told the press conference that people should avoid using the malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine, except for conditions it is proven to treat. Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.

Tedros said he was committed to accountability. The WHO has announced a review into the response to the pandemic, which emerged in China late last year.

“WHO calls for accountability more than anyone. It has to be done and when it’s done it has to be a comprehensive one,” he said of the review, while declining to give a timeline for it starting. (Reuters)

(Production: Louisa Naks)

WHO says novel coronavirus is likely to stay

UNTV News   •   May 14, 2020

Officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that it is hard to predict when the pandemic will be over, but the novel coronvirus may never go away.

“We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time, and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it. This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away,” Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said on Wednesday at a press conference in Geneva.

Ryan said he hopes to eliminate the virus with the help of a highly effective vaccine, which should be made available to everyone.

He said that there is a massive opportunity for the world to turn a tragic pandemic into a beacon of hope for the future, urging the world to work together to hold it in check through solidarity, trust, working together and through a multilateral system that can actually benefit mankind.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead at WHO, added that, despite people may be in a state of feeling quite some despair, people should remain upbeat and hopeful.

“We have seen countries bring this virus under control; we have seen countries use public health measures, the fundamentals of public health and epidemiology and clinical care, to bring the virus under control and to suppress transmission to a low enough level where communities can get back to work and communities can open up again, so we can’t forget that,” she said. (Reuters)

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