No severe illness among PUIs for COVID-19 across PH — DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   February 13, 2020   •   222

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 33 individuals have been added to the country’s list of patients under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19 on Thursday alone (February 13).

Overall, there are a total of 441 PUIs in 15 regions across the country.

Of the said number, 320 patients are still being monitored in different hospitals.

According to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, none of the patients were experiencing severe pneumonia or any serious symptoms.

So far, all of our cases have mild illness. Talagang ano lang, kaunting lagnat, ubo ang most common, but no severe illness (So far, all of our cases only have mild illness. Mild fever and cough are the most common conditions but no severe illness),” Domingo said.

Meanwhile, 250 PUIs have tested negative for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and 208 were already discharged.

Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe of the World Health Organization (WHO) said the international health body wants to increase the Philippines’ capacity to immediately release confirmatory tests from samples taken from the PUIs by sending enough test kits.

“Increasing capacity of countries to rapidly diagnose cases by sharing the relevant reagents for the PCR testing,” he said.

“Enough reagents for 1, 500 tests. We are already processing the next order,” he added.

Domingo said they have been testing 80 to 100 specimens a day.

Each sample is tested twice to make sure a PUI is free of COVID-19.

The result for each test is released within 12 to 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the country’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has accredited four major hospitals in the country to help in the sample testing.

These health facilities include:

  • Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City;
  • Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City;
  • San Lazaro Hospital in Manila;
  • Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center

These hospitals have the equipment and the capacity to test the samples, according to Domingo.

WHO-validated rapid test kits will be ready for use in Level 2 and 3 hospitals in the country.

The Department of Health (DOH), likewise, assured that these health facilities have enough medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPEs).

Still, the DOH is hoping that the government will expedite the release of the P2-B supplemental budget to fund the COVID-19 case management and additional supplies in hospitals.

Siguro mga 1 to 2 months kaya naman natin pa pero kailangan na natin bumili talaga (Maybe we can sustain for one to two months but we really need to procure),” Domingo said. – MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

850 people infected with coronavirus in Japan

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

Japan confirmed ten new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Monday, driving the number of infected patients up to 850.

Of the ten infected, four were in Hokkaido and one of them a teacher. Thus the local authorities decided to suspend classes of the school where the teacher works from Tuesday to March 6.

The total confirmed cases in Tokyo Prefecture reached 32, including three new confirmed cases on Monday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Monday that a staff member of the Ministry and a quarantine officer who worked at the cruise ship got infected.

So far, six civil servants, two quarantine officers, three staff members of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and a staffer of the Cabinet Secretariat, who worked on Diamond Princess cruise ship have been infected with the disease.

Japanese experts on Monday issued a statement saying the coming one to two weeks will be a critical time for the disease to spread rapidly or subside.

The statement also says confirmed cases without identified infection sources have emerged in several places, implying that the epidemic may speed up spreading and asks the people to avoid gathering. (CCTV via Reuters Connect)

South Korean president vows to win battle against COVID-19 during visit to Daegu

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

In his first visit to Daegu since the outbreak began, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday (February 25) that the government will “win the fight” against the coronavirus as the number of cases in the country rose to 893.

About 68 percent of South Korea’s cases have been linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus. Of 60 new cases reported on Tuesday, 16 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, where the church is located.

Last week the government decided to designate Daegu and neighboring Cheongdo County as “special care zones”.

Moon on Tuesday sought to reassure residents that the government was not considering locking down the area. (South Korea’s Presidential Office via Reuters Connect)

(Production: Hyunyoung Yi)

China’s approach to containing epidemic contributes to global medical community — WHO

UNTV News   •   February 25, 2020

China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of the new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and continuously deadly epidemic, said an official with the World Health Organization (WHO) Monday.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing, Bruce Aylward, head of WHO Experts Advance Team, said China has undertaken aggressive efforts in effectively fighting the virus and its experience will contribute to the global medical community’s knowledge in tackling the virus.

Experts led by Aylward and those from China have just completed a joint mission starting from Feb. 16 and returned from central China’s Wuhan City, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

He said, “But what we found was even though every province was suffering outbreaks and was getting infected, the governors were prioritizing the movement of medical teams and PVE out to Hubei and Wuhan. That’s a very important message for the rest of the world about how we work in the kind of solidarity, collaborative action that’s going to be needed to beat this virus. And the opinion of the joint mission, after looking at it very, very closely and in different ways, that there is no question that China’s bold approach to the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of what was a rapidly escalating and continuously be a deadly epidemic.”

China’s efforts have reduced at least 10,000 or even tens of thousands of possible infected cases, and its efforts can be recommended to the rest of the world, he added.

Apart from Wuhan, the 25 experts also visited Beijing, south China’s Guangzhou City and southwest China’s Sichuan Province, and talked to officials, medical workers and the public.

The joint mission found that even though people of all ages can be infected by the virus, the average age of patients is 51. Even as over 3,000 medical staff have been infected, new confirmed cases are on the decline.

“So first of all, the purpose of the mission right now was to look at what works, I’m not avoiding the question, but the purpose was what works. The single biggest lesson is speed, speed is everything. But what worries me most is, has the rest of the world learned the lesson of speed,” he said. (CGTN / CCTV VIA REUTERS CONNECT)

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