PH gov’t urged to remain vigilant, boost contact tracing vs. new COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021   •   960

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday called on the government to remain vigilant and not be complacent while the new variant of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first reported in the United Kingdom, has not been detected yet in the Philippines.

Pangilinan made the call after the Department of Health (DOH) said that there is still no presence of new COVID-19 variant in the country based on samples tested by the Philippine Genome Center.

“Huwag nating ulitin ang mga pagkukulang natin last year. January pa lang last year, nanawagan na tayo ng preemptive ban sa mga bumibiyahe mula Wuhan at matinding contact-tracing para sa mga nandito na. Kailangang natuto na tayo at huwag nang magpapetiks-petiks pa para hindi kumalat ang sinasabing bagong variant ng Covid-19,” he said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the DOH said that the B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, first reported in the United Kingdom, has not yet been detected in the country from samples gathered in November and December of last year.

This is amid speculations that the new variant is already in the Philippines after authorities in Hong Kong said the B.1.1.7 variant was detected from a 30-year-old female resident who returned to Hong Kong from Manila on December 22.

“We call for a clarity of messages. Syempre ang unang iisipin ng ating mga mamamayan, dahil dito ang pinanggalingan ng bagong COVID positive na pasyente sa Hong Kong, ibig sabihin meron na rin dito sa Pilipinas noong bagong variant. Kailangang linawin ito ng maigi ng DOH at ire-assure ang ating mga kababayan,” Pangilinan said.

The Philippine Airlines on Wednesday said the passengers who was reported to have tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19 in Hong Kong presented a negative test result before boarding the flight.

The DOH said it now tracing people who may have been exposed to the patient during the flight.

5 COVID-19 patients in PGH die daily; full-bed capacity looming

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — At least five patients in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) who are suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) die every day.

During a public briefing on Wednesday (April 21), PGH Spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario reported that for the last two weeks, at least five patients succumb to the virus per day.

There are also times when it would even reach up to seven or 10 patients a day, he said.

Rosario also reported that they already reached full bed capacity.

Puno po ang ICU (intensive care units), that has been the case for some time – 30 beds po iyon. Sa emergency room, may 25 beds for COVID-19 at lagi rin pong puno. Mostly po severe to critical care iyong nagpupunta sa ER (The ICUs are full, that has been the case for some time – that’s 30 beds. In the emergency room, there are 25 beds for COVID-19 and it’s always full. Mostly, patients in the ER are severe to critical cases)” he said.

The PGH Spokesperson also said they are not in full support of easing quarantine classifications after April 30. He hopes that the number of patients that will be admitted to the PGH will decrease with the help of quarantine restrictions.

“Extension of the MECQ to us will probably help in further decreasing the transmission hopefully and then less people will get hospitalized,” Rosario said. AAC (with reports from Marvin Calas)

Philippines records 9,227 new COVID-19 cases; 19,699 recoveries

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines on Wednesday registered 9,227 new novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, bringing the total caseload to 962,307, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

The DOH said the latest tally pushed the country’s active cases to 116,434.

The tally, however, does not include data from eight laboratories that failed to submit their reports on time.

Ngayong 4 PM, Abril 21, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 9,227 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The DOH also announced 19,699 new recovered patients, bringing the total number of recoveries to 829,608.

The death toll climbed to 16,265 with 124 new fatalities.

PH gov’t urged to build more facilities instead of using schools as quarantine sites, hospitals

Robie de Guzman   •   April 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called on the national government to expedite the construction of quarantine centers and field hospitals, instead of using school buildings for COVID-19 patients, to ease the burden on the country’s health care system.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, said that using schools as isolation facilities “is not sustainable and does not foster a culture of safety in the basic education system.”

“Ang mabilis na pagpapatayo ng mga field hospitals at mga quarantine centers ang isang paraan upang mabigyan natin ng agarang atensyon ang mga kababayan nating nagkakasakit,” he said in a statement.

“Imbes na masanay tayong gumamit ng mga paaralan bilang isolation facilities o evacuation centers, ang dapat nating tiyakin ay ang pagkakaroon ng sapat at angkop na mga pasilidad para sa mga nangangailan ng tulong medikal,” he added.

The senator also pointed out that before the pandemic, the prolonged use of school facilities in times of disasters, such as evacuation centers during calamities, tends to delay the resumption of classes.

Gatchalian pitched anew his proposal to build an evacuation center in every city and municipality in the country, which is stated in Senate Bill No. 747 that he filed in 2019.

Under the proposed measure, these evacuation centers will provide temporary accommodation for people who have been evacuated or displaced from their homes due to emergencies, including the outbreak of illnesses and diseases.

The Department of Education earlier said it has allowed some schools in the country to be used as quarantine facilities for suspected coronavirus cases to help decongest hospitals from COVID-19 admission. Other schools were also being used as vaccination sites.

The department also stressed that its terms and conditions should be satisfied and that compliance with quarantine guidelines should be ensured before a school can be converted into a quarantine facility.

The use of public schools as a quarantine facility or vaccination site should also be the “last option,” stressing the need to ensure the safety of personnel who report for work on-site.


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