NTF to send more vaccine supply to Mindanao areas facing surge in COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   July 20, 2021   •   223

MANILA, Philippines – More COVID-19 vaccine doses will be deployed to parts of Mindanao that are experiencing surge in infections, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. gave the assurance during a dialogue with local officials in Cagayan de Oro City held on Monday, July 19, to discuss the health situation there.

In particular, Galvez said additional vaccine supplies will be sent to Northern Mindanao and nearby areas that reported cases of Delta COVID-19 variant.

“’Yung Region 10 magiging priority natin sa July, August and even September kaya nga nag-usap kami ni (Gingoog City) Mayor Erick [Cañosa] na kung kaya ang 2,000 [jabs] a day susuportahan namin siya,” he said.

“Ganoon din kay (Cagayan de Oro City) Mayor [Oscar Moreno] at sa lahat ng ating mga LGU kung ano ‘yung capacity natin we will support so that we can have immediate protection as soon as possible time kasi this is a race against time and we wanted na while the Delta variant is mutating, we are now vaccinating the vulnerable,” he added.

According to Dr. Joselito Retuya, a Cagayan de Oro-based epidemiologist, six Delta variant cases have been reported in Region 10, five of which are in Cagayan de Oro City and one in Gingoog City.

A shipment of 26,660 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine were delivered at the Laguindingan Airport, Misamis Oriental on Monday.

Galvez said these doses should immediately be rolled out to offer protection to the public.

The vaccine czar also reiterated the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure the equitable distribution of the vaccines among the regions and provinces throughout the country.

“Ang pinaka-primary consideration natin sa pagdedeploy ng vaccines are one, ‘yung health risk, economic risk, social, at security risk. And second, geographical, if that area is potentially vulnerable considering that highly-urbanized area sya, geographically disadvantaged siya, walang hospital and then also talagang potentially siya ang tatamaan pag magkaroon ng surge, ayun ang binibigyan natin,” he said.

Aside from Region 10, the NTF also deployed a batch of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine doses to the Bangsamoro region on Monday.

The Philippines has so far confirmed 35 cases of Delta variant, including three fatalities and 32 recoveries.

IATF amends guidelines in NCR alert level 4 restrictions

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (AITF-MEID) has amended the guidelines for the implementation of the Alert Level 4 in the National Capital Region (NCR), Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the revised guidelines will take effect on October 1 should the pilot implementation of the alert level system be extended next month.

The new strategy is being imposed in virus hotspots in the NCR until September 30.

The amendments recently approved by the IATF include allowing individual outdoor exercises within general area of residence for persons not required to remain in their respective homes.

Authorities earlier allowed outdoor exercises for residents regardless of health and vaccination status, but they shall only be limited to moving within their village or barangay.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of COVID-19 deceased shall be allowed.

Attendance to these services, however, will only be limited to immediate family members, the IATF said.

All contact sports, whether indoor or outdoor, will remain prohibited. Those being conducted under a “bubble-type” setup are exempted.

Personal care establishments and home services are still not allowed. These services include aesthetic and cosmetic services or procedures, make up services, spas, reflexology, wellness, and holistic services and other similar procedures.

Positive COVID-19 antigen test results now included in case count – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The number of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 through rapid antigen tests will now be included in the Philippines’ case count, Malacañang said Friday.

In a televised briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) reached the decision during their meeting on Thursday in an aim to improve the reporting of COVID-19 cases.

“’Yan po ang ating objective para mas maging mabuti yung picture natin kung ilan ang total cases natin,” Roque said.

He, however, clarified that these tests will be subjected to confirmatory tests.

The use of antigen test is mostly effective for people who already manifested symptoms within the first five days of their onset as the viral load of the patient is at the highest during this time.

In line with this, the IATF directed the Department of Health NCR Center for Health Development to monitor and facilitate registration of facilities using rapid antigen kits.

They must also ensure that antigen line tests are collected and consolidated from health facilities, localities, as well as temporary treatment and monitoring facilities.

“Kaugnay nito, ang Department of Health NCR Center for Health Development ay inatasang mag-facilitate ng registration ng facilities na gumagamit ng rapid antigen kits,” he said.

“Augmentation of disease surveillance surveillance staff and encoders are considered to ensure that line lists are generated and submitted on a daily basis,” he added.

As of Sept. 23, the Philippines has 165,780 active COVID-19 cases based on DOH data.

Duterte asks PNP, AFP to deploy medical personnel to hospitals needing more staff

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to prepare for the deployment of their medical personnel to hospitals that are in need of additional manpower.

“Kung wala nang iba, ‘yung mga nurses sa pulis marami yan, pati sa medical corps ng army. I have to use a little of my influence sa kanila to convince them,” Duterte said in a taped public address aired late Wednesday.

“Please place your human resources on ready, on deck because talagang alam mo yun lang madali kong maasahan,” he added.

Duterte issued the statement after receiving reports that a lot of medical personnel, particularly in St. Luke’s Medical Center were unable to go on duty due to COVID-19 infection.

The AFP said it has started deploying a number of its personnel to some hospitals in Metro Manila as it continues look for more nurses from its ranks.

The PNP, for its part, said it is currently accounting the number of its medical teams that could be deployed to assist medical workers amid rising cases of COVID-19.

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