PH gov’t open to lockdown bid to curb threat of Delta variant — NTF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021   •   283

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is studying all options and proposals to prevent the further transmission of the more infectious variants of COVID-19 in the country, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said Wednesday.

During a televised public briefing, NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said the government is open to implementing lockdowns in Metro Manila amid increasing cases of COVID-19.

“Nakita natin ang experience ng ibang bansa at kailangang maghanda tayo dito; kailangan lahat ng options ay maging open tayo kung ano ang puwedeng gawin,” he said.

Dizon made the remark when asked to respond to the OCTA Research group’s suggestion to implement a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown in Metro Manila after its COVID-19 reproduction rate climbed to 1.33.

He, however, stressed that the government needs to balance every aspect as further restrictions will make the economy bleed.

“Pero siyempre kailangan ibalanse natin lahat yan at napakahirap po ng mga desisyon na ganito lalo na sa ating mahal na pangulo. Kaya kailangan guided tayo ng ating mga eksperto at pipilitin nating makahanap ng balansyadong solusyon,” he said.

He also said that the best move right now is to prepare for the possible new COVID-19 surge by further strengthening the country’s healthcare capacity and speed up vaccination against COVID-19.

“Hindi ko po masasabi yan kasi unpredictable ito. Nakita natin ang nangyari sa ibang mga bansa, walang naging handa. Pero pipilitin natin na maghanda ng mga supplies na kailangan natin, maghanda ng ICU beds, regular beds at maghanda sa mas madami at mas mabilis pang pagbabakuna,” he said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 18 million COVID-19 shots. Over 6.8 million individuals have completed their doses.

DOH asks Comelec to find alternative ways for COVID-19 patients to vote

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to find alternative ways on how COVID-19 patients can cast their vote in the 2022 national elections.

DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated that they will not allow COVID-19 patients to leave isolation to vote in the upcoming elections. She said this might lead to increasing the risk of virus transmission to other voters.

“Kailangan din isaisip dapat may alternative tayo for those who are COVID-19 positive para po sa botohan na ito. Alam po natin na ang isang positibong tao kapag lumabas po ng isang kwarto o ng isang lugar ay maaaring makahawa ng ibang tao, (We also need to look into alternative ways for the COVID-19 positive voters in this election. We do know that positive patients, once they leave their room or an area, can infect others)” she said.

The DOH official suggested going digital or online for COVID-19 patients.

“Sana po Comelec will have an alternative way of having these elections for those COVID-19 positive patients baka pwede naman pong virtual na lang, digital through SMS kung makakagawa po tayo ng ganitong proseso dahil talag ang ang Department of  Health po ay hindi po natin inirerekomenda na ang mga COVID-19 positive patients ay lalabas po ng kanilang isolation area to do this kind of activity, (I hope Comelec will have an alternative way of having these elections for  COVID-19 positive patients. Maybe it can be done virtually, digital through SMS if such a process can be done because the DOH will not recommend for COVID-19 patients to leave the isolation area to do this kind of activity),” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez previously said that it would be a challenge to find alternative methods for COVID-19 patients to vote, however, he said the Comelec en Banc will discuss the process on how it can be done.

There are currently no guidelines allowing patients to vote in polling centers. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

 

PH posts 20,336 new COVID-19 cases; active tally at 188K

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Friday recorded 20,336 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally of confirmed cases to 2,324,475 since the pandemic broke out in 2020.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the latest figure pushed the country’s active cases to 188,108. Of these cases, 87.6 percent are mild, 2.49 percent are moderate, 8.1 percent are asymptomatic, 1.3 percent are severe, and 0.6 percent are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, total number of recoveries rose to 2,100,039 after 10,028 more patients recovered from the disease.

Deaths related to COVID-19 also climbed to 36,328 with 310 new fatalities.

Four accredited testing laboratories failed to submit data on time.

Government data also showed that 77 percent of 4,300 ICU beds nationwide are occupied.

Around 68 percent of 20,800 isolation beds in the country are also in use while 73 percent of 15,900 ward beds are occupied.

Data also showed that 57 percent of the more than 3,200 ventilators in the country are being utilized.

In the National Capital Region, 79 percent of the total 1,500 ICU beds are occupied.

Around 64 percent of the 4,500 isolation beds are in use while 74 percent of the 4,400 ward beds are being utilized.

Of the total 1,100 ventilators in the capital region, 62 percent are being used.

The DOH also reported 26.6 percent COVID-19 positivity rate out of the 75,766 tests conducted on September 15.

DOH: Quarantine alert levels system, posibleng ipatupad na rin sa mga lalawigan

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Posibleng ipatupad na rin sa iba pang lalawigan ang ipinaiiral ngayong quarantine alert levels system sa Metro Manila.

Ayon kay Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, maaaring simulan ang sistema sa ibang probinsiya bago matapos ang buwan ng Setyembre.

“Pag nakakita tayo ng positibong resulta dito sa ginagawang pilot implementation, we may be able to roll it out to the rest of the country at maybe towards the end of September,” ani Vergeire.

“Every week, we will be assessing so that we will see yung progress natin. Ano yung pwedeng baguhin, ano yung pwede na nating i-retain, ano ang mga metrics na dapat pag-aralan at ano pa yung ways moving forward. So, it’s until Sept. 30,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa ngayon aniya ay tinututukan ng DOH ang epekto ng granular lockdowns sa ilalim ng alert levels system sa hawaan ng COVID-19 sa Metro Manila.

Sa tala ng DOH, nakakapagtala pa rin ang bansa ng mahigit sa 20,000 libong kaso sa isang araw dahil na rin sa pagkalat ng COVID-19 Delta variant.

“Ang alert level po dynamic iyan, nababago-bago po iyan. Hindi po iyan pwedeng mag stick ng dalawang linggo at hindi natin binago. Maaari po na after one week, mabago ang alert level. So we will be adding or we will be subtracting from this specific responses na meron tayo kaya po nagpa-pilot o sinusubukan,” ani Vergeire.

Kapag natapos na ang pilot implementation ng bagong alert level system sa Metro Manila ay ihahayag ng DOH ang mga ginamit nilang sukatan upang tukuyin kung ano ang kanilang batayan sa alert level classification na ipinatutupad sa isang lugar. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

 

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