Gov’t travel restrictions bar OFWs bound for Red List countries from leaving

Maris Federez   •   December 3, 2021   •   431

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) bound for the countries under the Red List cannot still go out of the country amid the threat of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The POEA said that even if OFWs have complete travel documents, they still cannot leave because there are no outbound international flights going to their employment destination.

POEA administrator Attorney Bernard Olalia stated that because inbound flights from counties under the Red List are banned, outbound flights going there are affected as well.

“At bilang nasa kategorya ng Red List countries, kanselado po lahat ng incoming international flights, at pagka kanselado po ang international incoming flights ay syempre wala ring outbound international flights,” he said.

Based on the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases seven countries were added to the Red List were cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant which health authorities categorized as a variant of concern.

These countries are Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy.

Inbound flights from these countries were banned to prevent the entry of the said variant.

Olalia said that POEA will issue a labor advisory to OFWs affected by the travel ban to guide them on what action to take.

Meanwhile, OFWs from the Red List countries will be allowed to return to the Philippines via repatriation flights organized by the government, the Bayanihan Flights, and flights initiated by non-government organizations.

“Kapag galing po kayo sa ibang bansa na ganyan, at ito pong flight ninyo ay isang government-initiated flight, o kaya NGO-initiated flight, o kaya Bayanihan flight na in-arrange po ng POLO o DFA. Kayo po ay papayagan namang makalapag dito kapag kayo ay OFW,” Olalia said.

The POEA said OFWs who are interested to avail of the repatriation flights may coordinate with the Philippine Embassy for the availability of slots.

OFW passengers are required to undergo the 14-day mandatory facility-based quarantine, as well as, an RT-PCR testing on the 7th day upon arrival in the Philippines. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

“No vax, no ride” policy sa NCR, epektibo lang sa ilalim ng COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   January 27, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Nilinaw ng Malakanyang na iiral lamang ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy sa mga pampublikong transportasyon sa National Capital Region (NCR) kapag nakataas ang COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

Ginawa ni Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles ang pahayag kasunod ng pagkwestiyon ng Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) sa polisiya na anila’y isang uri ng diskriminasyon.

Ayon kay TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, labag ang polisiya sa Republic Act 11525 na nagbabawal sa mandatory requirement ng vaccination card sa trabaho, empleyo, at sa mga transaksyon sa government offices, at serbisyo gaya ng public transportation.

Ito ay anti-poor at dapat maging patas ang gobyerno sa pagpapatupad ng polisiyang ito dahil kahit iyong mga ordinaryong rank and file na manggagawa ay mulat doon sa batas, mulat doon sa karapatan lalong lalo na ang freedom of choice. Mayroon silang karapatan kung ano ang mas makakabuti sa kanilang kalusugan para sa kanilang katawan,” ani Tanjusay.

Ngunit ayon kay Nograles, nakabatay sa mga ordinansa ng mga lokal na pamahalaan sa NCR ang pagpapatupad ng “no vaccination, no ride” policy ng Department of Transportation.

Ganito rin ang pahayag ni DOTr Undesecretary Artemio Tuazon at iginiit na malinaw naman ang panuntunan ng polisiya na hindi na ito ipatutupad kapag ibinaba sa Alert Level 2 ang NCR.

“Ang no vax, no ride policy under Department Order 2022-01 ay valid lang po sa loob ng NCR. Linawin ko lang po yun, yun po ay para sa NCR, dito lang po. At valid lang po yun, habang ang NCR ay nasa Alert Level 3, or mas mataas,” ani Tuazon.

“Kapag bumaba po ang ating alert level dito, masususpinde na po yung polisiya,” dagdag pa niya.

Nasa ilalim ng Alert Level 3 ang NCR hanggang sa Enero 31.

Sa weekend, inaasahang iaanunsyo ng Inter-Agency Task Force ang alert level status na paiiralin sa NCR para sa buwan ng Pebrero.

Palace welcomes survey showing drop in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   January 27, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday welcomed a survey that showed a drop in COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Filipinos.

In a statement, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the latest survey results mean that the government’s pandemic response is “a step towards the right direction” to restore normalcy.

Nograles issued the statement in response to the survey released Wednesday by the Independent pandemic monitoring OCTA Research team, which stated that 98 percent of Filipinos who have already completed their primary vaccine series did not contract COVID-19.

OCTA’s fourth quarter Tugon ng Masa survey conducted last December 7 to 12, also showed that the vaccine hesitancy among adult Filipinos dropped nationwide after five percent of respondents said they are not willing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.

This is a significant decline from the 22 percent vaccine hesitancy recorded by OCTA during its survey conducted in the third quarter of 2021, from September 11 to 16.

OCTA conducted the poll using face-to-face interviews with a sample size of 1,200 adult respondents.

“We are encouraged by the latest results of the OCTA Research December 2021 Tugon ng Masa National Survey, which highlight two important points: first, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among adult Filipinos dropped to 5%; and second, only 2% of adult Filipinos contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated,” Nograles said.

“This is incontrovertible evidence that COVID-19 vaccines protect us, our loved ones, and our communities from the virus. It also emphasizes that vaccination is a step towards the right direction in our efforts to restore normalcy,” he added.

Nograles said that as of January 26, 2022, a total of 125,089,118 vaccine doses have been administered in the Philippines with more than 58.1-M Filipinos now fully vaccinated.

“Having said this, we will continue to explore different methods to make vaccines more accessible to our people – such as the Resbakuna sa Botika Drive and the We Vax as One Mobile Vaccination Drive for Transport Workers—as part of our goal to inoculate 90 million Filipinos by the end of the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” he added.

 

Mga batang 5-11 years old with co-morbidities, prayoridad mabakunahan vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   January 26, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Uunahing mabakunahan ang mga batang may edad 5 hanggang 11 taong gulang na may iniindang karamdaman sa gagawing pagbabakuna ng pamahalaan kontra COVID-19 sa Pebrero.

Ayon sa National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), mas madaling dapuan ng COVID-19 ang mga taong may co-morbidities kaya kailangan silang bigyan ng prayoridad.

Sa Pebrero 5 target simulan ang COVID vaccination para sa 5 to 11 age group. Prayoridad sa rollout ng bakuna ang mga batang medical complexity, genetic conditions, neurologic conditions, cardiovascular disease, obesity, HIV infection, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease at renal disorders.

Ngunit paalala ni Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi ng NITAG, kailangang may clearance mula sa duktor bago magpabakuna ang mga bata.

Wala namang dapat ipangamba ang mga magulang dahil karamihan pa rin naman sa mga nakakaranas ng adverse events pagkatapos makatanggap ng bakuna ay mga adult.

Kalimitan sa napaulat na adverse events ay lagnat, pagkahilo, pananakit ng bahagi ng katawan na nabakunahan, sakit ng ulo, at pagtaas ng blood pressure na normal lang na maramdaman pagkatapos mabakunahan.

Lumalabas rin sa ulat ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA) na 3% lang sa hanay ng 12 to 17 taong gulang ang nakaranas ng serious adverse events matapos mabakunahan kumpara sa mga nasa edad 18 to 29.

Inirerekomenda ang pag-inom ng paracetamol sa mga bata kapag nakaranas ng lagnat, pananakit ng katawan at ulo.

Ayon kay Bunyi, mas mababa ang dosage ng bakuna ang ibibigay sa 5-11 age group. May pagkakaiba rin ang takip ng COVID vaccine na ibibigay sa mga ito kumpara sa mga 12 to 17 years old.

“Dose was 1/3 of the adult dose which is 10 mcg given at 0.2 ml…The vial which is used for 5-11 y/o is orange cap it is also a multi-dose vial which is good for 10 doses. The route in administering the vaccine is both intramuscular,” ani Bunyi.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine pa lang ang may emergency use authorization sa Pilipinas na maaring ibigay sa mga batang 5 to 11 ang edad.

Dalawampu’t isang araw ang pagitan ng una at second dose ng bakuna para sa mga bata. Wala pang rekomendasyon sa ngayon kung maaari na silang bigyan ng booster dose kapag nakumpleto na ang primary series.

Paanyaya ng NITAG sa mga magulang, pabakunahan kontra COVID-19 ang mga anak upang mabigyan sila ng proteksyon mula sa mas nakakahawang variants na Delta at Omicron at mga malulubhang sintomas ng sakit.

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