IATF approves use of automatic contact tracing via smart messaging system

Maris Federez   •   April 11, 2021   •   437

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Saturday (April 10) approved the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority to use automatic contact tracing through smart messaging system.

A statement issued by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Sunday said this is to further strengthen and improve the use of StaySafe.ph System – the official social distancing, COVID-19 health-condition reporting, and contact tracing system of the government.

“To ensure interoperability and integration of all contact tracing applications integration in the StaySafe.ph System, there will be an initial beta-testing, together with the proposed messaging, of the Smart Messaging System in Pasig City due on May 1, 2021, and beta-testing in the consortium of Antipolo and cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Valenzuela due on May 1, 2021, with access to COVID-19 Document Repository System (CDRS),” the statement said.

The IATF has also adopted the recommendation on the immediate completion of the transfer of ownership of the CDRS, and its immediate integration with the StaySafe.PH System and other local contact tracing systems and applications, to the Department of Health (DOH), Roque said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been directed to be the overall lead in the implementation of the project, while the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is directed to lead its national interoperability.

The DOH, on the other hand, is in charge of ensuring the integration of the StaySafe.ph System with the CDRS.

The DILG shall be convening with the DICT and the DOH to formulate the necessary action plan with specific timelines and targets for the said project.

PH tracing passengers who arrived from countries with Omicron cases – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it has started tracing passengers who arrived in the country from areas with local cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant.

DOH Epidemiology director, Dr. Alethea de Guzman said this is to assess them to ensure that they are not infected with the new coronavirus variant.

“Iyong mga galing sa banned countries na naunang nag-arrive ay ngayon ay tinetrace ng ating BOQ, RESUs and DILG para ma-assess sila at ma-test,” she said.

The move is in compliance to the directive of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) for The Bureau of Quarantine and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the local government units (LGUs) to identify and locate passengers who arrived within 14 days prior to November 29, 2021, from countries classified as Red.

This is to require them to complete quarantine under a home quarantine set-up for 14 days from date of arrival and undergo RT-PCR if symptoms develop.

The Philippine government has recently expanded the Red List to include Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy. This is in addition to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique that were earlier placed in the Red List due to the threat of Omicron, which was first detected in the region.

The Red List, which is effective from November 28 until December 15, means that travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or who have been to the Red List areas within the last 14 days prior to their arrival will not be allowed to enter the Philippines.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan flights may be allowed entry. However, they will be subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for Red List territories.

De Guzman said authorities are now reviewing the existing protocols to address the new variant.

“Dahil nga sa pag-deklara ng Omicron as a variant of concern at ito namang Omicron na ito ay papasok hindi galing sa ating, hindi siya lalabas intransically sa Philippines pero malamang manggaling sa ibang bansa, kailangan talaga nating maglagay ng measures para ma-prevent natin, ma-delay natin as long as possible ang pagpasok ng Omicron sa ating bansa,” she said.

The Philippines has not yet recorded any case of Omicron variant based on the ongoing genome sequencing process.

The country has seen a downward trend of coronavirus infections in the past weeks.

On Monday, the Philippines logged 665 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the country’s total caseload to 2,832,375. This is the lowest since July 14, 2020 with 634 cases.

The country remains at low-risk classification for COVID-19.

But the DOH warned that this could spike if Omicron variant slips through the country’s borders.

The department said it has recommended to LGUs to shift back to using RT-PCR tests, instead of antigen tests to detect the presence of the Omicron variant.

“There are allegedly some tests that cannot detect kasi meron lang specific na mutations unique to Omicron na pwede lang makita ng certain RT- PCR kits,” De Guzman said.

“Ang ating mga positive samples naman ay mapapadala natin sa ating UP-Phil Genome Center at doon natin makikita kung sila ay may Omicron… Much like iyong mga may kaso ng Alpha, Beta and Delta ,kung mayroon ka ring Omicron walang pagbabago sa magiging management sa inyo ng doktor. Walang dagdag na gamot, bagong treatment. Pareho pa rin ang magiging treatment sa kanila,” she added.

De Guzman also noted that there is no clear evidence yet to say whether Omicron variant causes severe infection or if it more transmissible than other variants of concern.

“Sa ngayon, base sa mga studies, hindi natin nakikita na mas magiging apektado ang isang age group, hindi rin natin nakikita na mas magiging severe ang disease, o mas magiging mataas ang tiyansa ng pagkamatay sa mga may kaso na may Omicron variant,” she said.

“Pero dahil nakakita nga tayo ng maraming mutations dito sa variant na ito kaya itinataas natin ang pagbabantay ang ating response,” she added.

The DOH also reminded the public to take extra care as preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron for people who have previously had COVID-19, as compared to other variants of concern.

Clusters of cases in a certain area should also be monitored and submitted for sequencing to ensure that there are no new virus mutations.

The World Health Organization classified Omicron as a variant of concern last week. Several countries imposed travel restrictions amid increased detection in nations across the world.

DILG calls for more volunteers to support 3-day COVID-19 vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has called for more volunteers to support all local government units (LGU) during the three-day national vaccination drive.

The three-day campaign, dubbed as “Bayanihan Bakunahan,” will be held from November 29 to December 1. It aims to inoculate 15 million Filipinos across 16 regions outside of Metro Manila.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this program is “the most ambitious vaccination undertaking in the country to date,” and they need many volunteers, especially those with medical backgrounds, to assist in the more than 12,000 vaccination sites nationwide.

“We, therefore, urge everyone to become heroes not only by getting vaccinated but also by volunteering their services during the three-day vaccination drive,” he added.

Año urged state or private colleges and universities, especially those that are offering medical and nursing courses, to mobilize doctors, nurses, and nursing students to assist LGUs during the campaign.

Among the volunteers needed for the campaign are vaccination teams that include medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, midwives, first responders, paramedics, other health professionals, teachers, and professors.

“They will be assigned as health screeners, vaccinators, post vaccination monitors, or health educators. The projected number of health professionals needed is around 100,000” Año said.

For the vaccination drive management team, the DILG said the volunteers needed are data professionals, teachers, and school personnel, accountants, students, government employees, Sangguniang Kabataan, or any willing and trained data personnel and volunteers.

“They will be assigned as Encoders or Talliers or Data Consolidators,” the department added.

The DILG said LGUs are already mobilizing barangay officials and barangay-based institutions to bring people to the more than 12,000 proposed vaccination sites.

“Bukod sa ating mga LGUs, napakalaki po ng parte ng bawat mamamayan sa paparating na Bayanihan Bakunahan. Kaya naman, inaanyayahan po namin ang lahat na makiisa at mag-volunteer. Let us live out the spirit of bayanihan and defeat the pandemic,” Año said.

“Mag-volunteer sa inyong LGU para sa anumang suporta na maaaring maibigay. Hikayatin at tulungan magpabakuna ang mga kapamilya at kaibigan para sa ating pagsalubong sa ligtas na bagong normal lalo na ngayong magpa-Pasko at sa nalalapit na pagpasok ng bagong taon,” he added.

Volunteers can sign up through the National Volunteer Registration portal.

“LGUs must also ensure that the enlistment of volunteers thru the National Vaccination Volunteer Registration (NVVR) is properly managed by assigning a point person who will coordinate and communicate with the volunteers, and a data manager to download the list of volunteers with their contact details from the Vaccination Operations Reporting System (VORS),” the DILG said.

In a memorandum circular, Año also urged LGUs to expand the number of vaccination sites to include schools, malls, cinemas, restaurants, and other public places.

He also said LGUs should see to it that all vaccines that shall be used in the nationwide campaign are ready and will be properly distributed to the vaccination sites.

After the three-day vaccination drive, the DILG said it will be evaluating the performance of the LGUs.

They will also be required to submit a report to DILG’s Emergency Operations Center on December 3.

“From December 2-31, 2021, the DILG will be assessing and evaluating the reports and will be recognizing and commending LGUs who have achieved their daily targets for the NVD. The DILG will also provide feedback and report to the LGU,” it said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the dates November 29, 30 and December 1 as Bayanihan, Bakunahan COVID-19 vaccination days,

Under Proclamation No. 1253, issued by Duterte on Wednesday, employees and workers of the government and the private sector, who will be vaccinated during this period, shall not be considered absent from their work.

 

PH posts 890 new COVID-19 cases; active infections down to 17K

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 890 new COVID-19 infections, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

In its bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure brought the country’s total of recorded cases to 2,828,660.

Of the total caseload, 17,864 were active infections – 53.4% of which are mild, 21.39% are moderate, 4.8% are asymptomatic, 14.4% are severe, and 6.0% are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 2,763,114 after 1,710 more patients recuperated from the viral disease.

The death toll climbed to 47,682 with 200 new fatalities.

The country’s positivity rate was at 2.5%, based on data gathered on November 22 from 32,254 tested individuals.

Two laboratories were not operational on November 22 while three others were not able to submit their data on time, the DOH said. The five labs contribute on average 1.5% of positive cases and 1.8% of samples tested.

Data from the DOH also indicated that 31% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds for COVID-19 patients nationwide are in use while 29% are utilized in Metro Manila.

Isolation beds nationwide are 28% occupied while 25% are in use in Metro Manila.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.