PNR head office work suspended until March 14 for disinfection ops

Robie de Guzman   •   March 12, 2020   •   545

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Railways (PNR) on Thursday announced it is temporarily closing its head office in Manila to give way for disinfection amid the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an advisory, the PNR said it will conduct cleaning and disinfecting of its Executive Building in Tondo from March 12, Thursday, until Sunday, March 14.

“All office works are also suspended during the said period,” it added.

In a separate statement, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said that the PNR has started the disinfection of its trains and facilities in every loop.

“For Metro South Commuter disinfecting point is at Tutuban station; For Metro North Commuter, servicing and disinfecting point is Governor Pascual station and for Bicol Commuter, servicing point is Naga station,” the DOTr said.

“Disinfecting procedure are done by service providers supervised and monitored by COVID19 Task Force composed of all Division and Department Managers of PNR and PNR Medical team,” it added.

The process includes wiping of disinfecting solution on hand rails, windows, seats and other train surfaces, mopping of train floors and spraying of disinfectant over the train coaches.

“Procedure would take 15-20 minutes while trains are undergoing refueling and servicing,” the DOTr said.

The department assured that the proper disposal of used chemicals and rags will be observed, and other usable cleaning materials are sterilized prior to use. These are also kept in a sealed container with sterilizing solution.

Metro Manila may be placed under GCQ in June —Sec. Lorenzana

Maris Federez   •   May 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — National Task Force Against Covid-19 chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday (May 24) said that Metro Manila may possibly be placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) in June.

With this, Metro Manila residents may expect more relaxed quarantine restrictions to be implemented next month.

Lorenzana said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has been discussing the readiness of the capital region for it to be transitioned to GCQ from the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“More likely mag-gi-GCQ na tayo by June 1,” the defense chief said.

He added that areas that still have novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases will remain under their control.

“Ang pinag-uusapan namin sa IATF, eh mag-GCQ, pero ‘yung mga areas na meron pa ring… mga infection baka ‘yun na lang ang ikontrol ng konti,” Lorenzana said.

The areas that will be placed under GCQ are those that are considered to be at low risk of COVID-19. With this, more industries will be allowed to operate.

Lorenzana insists that although recorded COVID-19 cases has been going down everyday, quarantine measures must remain to prevent the second wave of the infection.

“We would like to impress in our people ‘yung self-discipline, para masanay sila na ito na ‘yung new normal, na social distancing, wearing of face mask, sanitation,” the official said.

Task Force Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. has earlier mentioned about the planned “zoning concept” or the measure that will limit the implementation of a lockdown in an area based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. —(with details from Victor Cosare) /mbmf

WHO reports most coronavirus cases in a day, cases near five million

UNTV News   •   May 21, 2020

The World Health Organization expressed concern on Wednesday (May 20) for the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich nations emerge from lockdown.

The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began, as the total number of cases world-wide approached five million.

Speaking at a news conference, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that two thirds of those cases had come from just four countries.

The WHO has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump, who accuses it of having mishandled the outbreak and favouring China. This week Trump threatened to withdraw from the WHO and permanently withhold funding.

Tedros acknowledged having received a letter from Trump, but declined to comment further.

In comments that could annoy Trump further, the head of the WHO’s emergency programme, Dr. Mike Ryan, told the press conference that people should avoid using the malaria medicine hydroxychloroquine, except for conditions it is proven to treat. Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.

Tedros said he was committed to accountability. The WHO has announced a review into the response to the pandemic, which emerged in China late last year.

“WHO calls for accountability more than anyone. It has to be done and when it’s done it has to be a comprehensive one,” he said of the review, while declining to give a timeline for it starting. (Reuters)

(Production: Louisa Naks)

WHO says novel coronavirus is likely to stay

UNTV News   •   May 14, 2020

Officials of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that it is hard to predict when the pandemic will be over, but the novel coronvirus may never go away.

“We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time, and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it. This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away,” Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said on Wednesday at a press conference in Geneva.

Ryan said he hopes to eliminate the virus with the help of a highly effective vaccine, which should be made available to everyone.

He said that there is a massive opportunity for the world to turn a tragic pandemic into a beacon of hope for the future, urging the world to work together to hold it in check through solidarity, trust, working together and through a multilateral system that can actually benefit mankind.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead at WHO, added that, despite people may be in a state of feeling quite some despair, people should remain upbeat and hopeful.

“We have seen countries bring this virus under control; we have seen countries use public health measures, the fundamentals of public health and epidemiology and clinical care, to bring the virus under control and to suppress transmission to a low enough level where communities can get back to work and communities can open up again, so we can’t forget that,” she said. (Reuters)

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