PH deploys resupply vessels to Ayungin Shoal

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2021   •   247

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military has deployed its resupply boats to Ayungin Shoal (also called Second Thomas Shoal) several days after Chinese coast guard ships blocked and harassed Filipino vessels in the same area.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the ships left Oyster Bay in Palawan this morning, and are expected to reach the shoal where Philippine troops are stationed on Tuesday.

Lorenzana said the vessels were deployed after Chinese envoy Huang Xilian gave assurance that the resupply mission will not be impeded.

“Pero pakiusap nila, walang escort,” he said.

Lorenzana said he and Huang have been in constant communication following the incident in Ayungin Shoal last week where two Philippine boats in resupply missions were blocked and harassed by three Chinese coast guard ships.

No one was hurt in the incident but the mission was aborted as one of the two boats sustained damage. The boats were transporting food to military personnel stationed in the shoal.

Beijing earlier claimed the Philippine boats “trespassed” into China’s territory and that its coast guard vessels only “performed official duties in accordance with law.”

But Lorenzana maintained that the Ayungin Shoal is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and that it was the Chinese vessels that violated the country’s sovereign rights.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier expressed dismay over the incident and said he has conveyed the Philippine government’s protest to China’s foreign ministry.

The Ayungin Shoal (also called Second Thomas Shoal) is about 105 nautical miles from Palawan. The shoal is currently occupied by Philippine troops. (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

PHL logs 22,958 new COVID-19 infections

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 22,958 additional COVID-19 infections, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In its latest data, the DOH said 21,691 of the new cases occurred within the recent 14 days, from January 6 to January 19.

The top regions that reported high cases in the last two weeks are the National Capital Region, CALABARZON, and Central Luzon.

The latest tally pushed the country’s number of active infections to 270,728. Of these cases, 8,335 are asymptomatic, 257,632 are mild, 2,970 are moderate, 1,487 are severe, and 304 are in critical condition.

The positivity rate was at 43.5 percent, based on samples of 62,531 individuals on January 17.

Six laboratories failed to submit their data on time. These facilities contribute on average 1.5 percent of samples tested and 1.9 percent of positive cases.

Recoveries increased by 36,611, resulting in 2,969,853 total recuperations.

COVID-related deaths rose to 53,044 with 82 new fatalities.

The utilization rate of intensive care unit beds nationwide was at 49 percent, and 53 percent in Metro Manila; isolation beds in the capital region at 48 percent, and 51 percent across the country.

In Metro Manila, 29 percent of ventilators are in use, and 23 percent nationwide.

PH detects 492 new cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has detected 492 additional cases of the more transmissible Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.

In an update, the DOH said the new cases of Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant were detected in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing done last January 13 to 14, 2022 by the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH), and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The DOH said that the 492 Omicron variant cases are composed of 332 local cases and 160 returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

Of the 332 local cases, the indicated addresses of the cases were from the following areas:

  • National Capital Region with 227 cases
  • CALABARZON with 76 cases
  • Central Luzon with 11 cases
  • Central Visayas with 5 cases
  • Cagayan Valley with 2 cases
  • Western Visayas, with 2 cases
  • Davao Region with 2 cases
  • Soccsksargen with 2 cases
  • Cordillera Administrative Region with 2 cases
  • Ilocos Region with 1 case
  • MIMAROPA with 1 case
  • Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with 1 case

“Based on the case line list, three cases are still active, two cases have died, 467 cases have been tagged as recovered, while there are 20 cases whose outcomes are still being verified,” the DOH said.

This update brings the total number of confirmed Omicron variant cases in the country to 535.

Aside from Omicron variant cases, health authorities also detected 115 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases, and one Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant case in the 714 samples recently sequenced.

Of the additional 115 Delta variant cases, the DOH said 88 were local cases and 27 were ROFs.

Based on the case line list, two cases are still active, two have died, 107 have been tagged as recovered, while there are four cases whose outcomes are still being verified, it added.

This brings the total number of confirmed Delta variant cases in the Philippines to 8,612.

Meanwhile, the local Alpha variant case has been tagged as recovered.

The total number of Alpha variant cases is now 3,170, the DOH said.

With the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the DOH once again urged the public to follow protective health protocols and adhere to minimum public health standards.

“New protocols based on science and data such as shortened intervals for booster shots, childhood vaccination, shortened quarantine/isolation periods for fully vaccinated HCWs without symptoms, and targeted testing among others were put in place to mitigate the risks of the Omicron variant,” the agency said.

“The public is strongly encouraged to comply to ensure the safety and protection of the entire community,” it added.

The DOH also renewed its call for all eligible individuals, especially senior citizens, those with comorbidities, and children, to complete their primary series of vaccines and get boosted as these are safe, effective, and free.

“Getting vaccinated is still our best line of defense when it comes to fighting and preventing severe and critical disease. Regardless of the variant, we must always keep our guards up against the enemy that is COVID-19,” it added.


Kaso ng Omicron variant naitala sa 15 lugar sa Metro Manila – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Labinlimang lugar sa Metro Manila na ang nakapagtala ng local case ng Omicron COVID-19 variant, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay DOH Epidemiology Bureau director Dr. Alethea de Guzman, ikinokonsidera nang predominant variant ang Omicron sa Metro Manila batay sa resulta ng pinakahuling whole genome sequencing run.

“Our latest whole genome sequencing showed that the Omicron variant is now the predominant variant in the National Capital Region, It’s also detected in 13 of 17 regions and in the National Capital Region, 15 of its 17 areas already have local Omicron cases,” ang wika ni De Guzman.

Hindi na tinukoy ng DOH ang mga nasabing lugar pero ayon kay De Guzman, mabilis ang pagkalat ng nasabing variant na maaaring bunsod na rin ng paglabas ng mga tao at hindi lubos na pagsunod ng iilan sa public health protocols.

“These case increases that we’ve seen especially in the National Capital Region is driven by Omicron but is also facilitated by our increased mobility, our reduced compliance to minimum public health standards, as well as delays in our detection and isolation,” ani De Guzman.

Bukod sa Metro Manila ay napansin rin ng kagawaran ang pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa lahat ng rehiyon sa bansa.

“We have now observed an increase in cases across all regions and all provinces, highly-urbanized cities and independent component cities but there are still areas whose counts are lower than what we are seeing now in the NCR Plus but we’re already seeing continuous and swift increases,” ani De Guzman.

Una nang sinabi ni Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na nasa critical risk classification ang Pilipinas sa kabila ng pagbagal ng growth rate ng COVID-19.

Ngayong Martes, 28,471 bagong kaso ng COVID-19 ang naitala sa bansa. Ito ang unang pagkakataon ngayong linggo na mas mababa sa 30,000 ang napaulat na kumpirmadong kaso ng coronavirus disease sa Pilipinas. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)


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