Manny Pacquiao asks US Pres. Biden to expedite delivery of vaccines for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 4, 2021   •   618

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao said he is trying to personally contact United States President Joe Biden to expedite the delivery of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.

Last April, the Senator has sent a letter to the White House through Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Romualdez to ask the US President’s help in expediting the processing of around 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines procured by the Philippine government and private sectors.

Sumulat ako dahil medyo nababagalan ako [sa] pag-deliver ng vaccine dito satin. Ang ibang bansa, massive na ang vaccination nila (I wrote because I feel that the delivery of vaccines here in the country is slow. The other countries are already conducting massive vaccination),” he said.

Pacquiao said he is not overstepping President Rodrigo Duterte and stressed that he just wanted to help.

Ang presidente ngayon ng US na-meet ko na siya noong 2011, sa tingin ko naman kilala niya ako. So makakatulong ng malaki ang sulat natin, ang request natin sa kaniya na mapagbigyan tayo (I have already met the current US President back in 2011, I think he knows me. So our letter will be a big help that he will grant our request),” he said.

The White House has still yet to reply to the Senator’s letter, but it has been received by the office of President Biden.

Meanwhile, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. previously said there will be a steady vaccine supply in the country in June, including the 194,000doses of Moderna vaccines. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Philippines’ Covid tally up by 6,959

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) logged an additional 6,959 new cases to the country’s Covid-19 count and raising the tally to  1,353,220 on Saturday (June 19).

The latest figure pushes the total number of active cases to 59,439.

Meanwhile, 9,407 individuals have recovered from the virus. This brings the total number of recoveries since the pandemic began to 1,270, 243.

The coronavirus-related deaths also rose to  23,538 with  153 new fatalities.

The DOH noted that the current active cases is only 4.4% of the total positive cases recorded since the pandemic.

Based on the latest report, all DOH laboratories are fully operational since June 17, 2021 and only six laboratories have not yet forwarded their respective data to the agency’s COVID-19 Document Repository System (CDRS).

These six laboratories comprise about 3.5% of the overall samples tested and 3.9% of the total number of COVID positive individuals.

PH to receive P505M worth of COVID-19 vaccine donation from Australia

Marje Pelayo   •   June 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Australian government is donating 13.72 million AUD or P505 million worth of coronavirus vaccines to the Philippines.

The vaccines will be purchased in coordination with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said Australian Ambassador to Manila Steven Robinson on Thursday (June 17).

“This will make an important contribution to meeting the country’s vaccine needs in 2021. The Philippines will receive additional procurement and end-to-end distribution support to meet its needs under Australia’s new agreement with UNICEF to purchase safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the Philippines,” he said.

The vaccines are expected to be delivered within the year.

Aside from the anticipated donations, Robinson said Canberra has also provided Manila at least 7.52 million Australian dollars or around P277 million to boost its vaccine rollout through Australia’s Vaccine Response Plan.

Australia is the Philippines’ fourth donor country following other sponsors such as China, the United States, and Japan.

Expert still recommends use of face shield vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — An infectious disease specialist and government adviser still recommends the use of face shields even in open-air settings due to the continuous threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and its highly contagious variants.

Dr. Edsel Salvana of the Department of Health (DOH) Technical Advisory Group said on Friday that he would still insist on the use of a face shield as it offers a layer of protection against COVID-19 variants, particularly the Delta and Alpha variants.

Citing several studies, Salvana said the Delta variant, which first emerged in India, is up to four times more transmissible than the original coronavirus and the Alpha variant.

“Sa pag-aaral, ang Delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible than Alpha, ano ba yung Alpha? Ang Alpha yun yung UK variant, which is already 60 percent more transmissible than the original virus. So 60 percent plus 60 percent pa so halos four times po ang pwedeng maging increased transmissibility nito,” he said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

He added that preliminary data also show that the Delta variant is about 40 percent more contagious even in outdoor settings.

“So para sa akin, kahit pa sabihin nila na hindi na required ang face shield lalo na with the threat of this Delta variant, gagamit pa rin talaga ako ng face shield, I will recommend it because it is an extra layer of protection,” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said the existing policy on the use of face shields against COVID-19 will remain in effect pending the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte on the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to continue the use of face shields in enclosed or indoor spaces.

These spaces include hospitals, schools, workplaces, commercial establishments such as but not limited to food establishments, malls and public markets, public transport and terminals, and places of worship.

The task force met on Thursday afternoon to discuss the policy on the use of face shields after some senators shared their conversation with Duterte in Malacañang about the limited use of face shields.

Salvana said that should the president decide to remove or limit the use of face shields, he would still wear one as protection against coronavirus variants.

“Hindi ko pipilitin kung ayaw nyong gumamit ng face shield o kung tanggailn yung mandate but I still strongly recommend it lalo na with the threat of the variants. I, myself, when I’m interacting with other people, I will use this face shield po,” he said.

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