MANILA, Philippines — The number of fatalities following the strong earthquake that hit parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon has climbed to 16, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Tuesday, April 23.
Most of the people killed in the 6.1 magnitude quake were from the province of Pampanga, which was heavily hit by the powerful temblor.
Of the 16 reported deaths, 12 were from Porac, two from Lubao and one from Angeles in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.
The NDRRMC also said that 81 people were injured and 14 remain missing.
The agency, however, stressed that the mentioned figures are still subject to further validation by authorities.
The strong quake, the epicenter of which was located in Castillejos, Zambales, also damaged a total of 29 structures and buildings.
The NDRRMC said a blue alert status has been raised since Monday and regional disaster offices have been ordered to assess their respective areas of responsibility.
The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), for its part, has deployed a 12-man team to help in the ongoing search, rescue and retrieval operations in affected areas.
The Bureau of Fire Protection, on the other hand, sent 155 of its personnel, along with its rescue and fire trucks, and ambulance to Pampanga to assist in the rescue mission.
The NDRRMC said backhoes, jack hammers, hydraulics and cranes are now being used to fast track the operation.
The Department of Social Welfare and Develolment (DSWD), for its part, has prepositioned 305,830 family food packs, and other food and non-food items. A standby fund amounting to more than P1.3 billion was also allocated for other needs.
The Department of Energy (DOE) also reported that measures have already been taken to ensure safety in local fuel refinery units. Generator sets and floodlights were also dispatched for the ongoing operations in Porac, Pampanga.
“As per DOE, Petron Corporation conducted protective tripping of some units of its refinery,” NDRRMC said.
“Also per NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines), Meralco dispatched 2 canter vehicles and 4 generator sets with 8 floodlights to Porac, Pampanga,” it added.
The quake also damaged parts of the Clark International Airport, resulting in the airport’s closure since Monday night.
The operations of Metro Manila’s main rail services were also suspended on Monday but operations have resumed since Tuesday morning. — Robie de Guzman
MANILA, Philippines – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is taking its toll on the Philippine healthcare system, according to the latest report by the Department of Health (DOH).
As of Wednesday (April 22), a total of 1,062 frontline workers have been confirmed positive for COVID-19:
30 Medical technologists
21 Radiologic technologists
51 Nursing assistants
152 Other Services i.e. Administration and Barangay healthcare workers
Of the said number, 26 medical workers succumbed to the disease, 19 were doctors or physicians.
“Taos puso po kaming nakikiramay sa ating 26 na health workers na pumanaw dahil sa COVID-19 (We deeply express our condolences to the [families] of our 26 health workers who succumbed to COVID-19),” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual presser.
This figure, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is alarming and the agency expresses concern over the increasing infection rate of COVID-19 among the country’s frontline health workers as compared to other countries in the Western Pacific Region.
“The trend we are seeing in the Philippines, where the percentage is about 13%, is worrisome,” said Dr. Adbi Mahamud, WHO-Western Pacific Region COVID-19 Incident manager.
“In our region, it is around 2-3%. The Philippines is a bit of an outlier,” he said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday (April 21).
For its part, the DOH said it is willing to cooperate with any investigation that the international health body will undertake to check if there are lapses in terms of infection control among health facilities in the country which increase the number of healthcare workers contacting the disease.
But Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he still needs to verify with WHO regarding the report.
“I also read in the news today that WHO did issue this report of a relatively high rate of infection among our healthworkers and frontliners but I need to validate this report,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may decide this week on whether to lift, extend or modify the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) being enforced over Luzon, Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is no definite answer yet on the fate of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine which will lapse on April 30.
However, he said that the chief executive will likely decide on the matter soon to give ample time for authorities and the public to prepare.
“Kinakailangang magdesisyon ang presidente ngayong linggong ito dahil anuman ang maging desisyon niya, kinakailangang paghandaan ang implementasyon,” Roque said in a virtual press briefing.
The Palace official said Duterte is meeting with medical experts to get their recommendations and basis amid the COVID-19 crisis.
He will also discuss the matter with the members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
Duterte earlier threatened to impose a martial law-like quarantine measure if the public continues to disobey safety and health protocols against the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The IATF also reiterated it is still discussing possible scenarios and its game plan for post-ECQ, and denied rumors the quarantine will be extended until May.
The Palace likewise dismissed as fake news a viral voice clip which warned about a possible declaration of martial law-type lockdown this week.
The quarantine over Luzon has been in place since March 15 and it is due to end on April 30.
Under this measure, public transport operations are halted, classes and work in some offices are suspended, and only essential workers are allowed to go out of their homes while the rest are ordered to stay inside their residences. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continue to rise across the globe.
As of 1:00 p.m. on Thursday (April 2), the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is at 937,783, only less than 70,000 before it hits the one million mark, based on the latest report by the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
The United States, Italy and Spain already surpassed China, the origin of the new coronavirus, as countries with the highest number of confirmed cases.
Meanwhile, 47,261 patients have died of the disease, most of them reported in Italy (13,155 deaths).
Still, China has the highest number of recoveries at 76,426 from the total number of 194,330 patients reported worldwide.
Top 10 countries with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide (As of 1:52 p.m. April 2, 2020):
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