Shanghai student attends online classes amid virus-induced school closure

UNTV News   •   March 3, 2020   •   1059

Shanghai has required all schools to remain closed amid an ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the country, which has killed more than 2,900 people in mainland China and spread to more than 60 countries around the world.

Time off from school might not be as interesting as Sha Jie, a third grader in Shanghai, thought it would be. He has spent most of his time at home since early January when Chinese authorities started to implement strict policies that limited public activities, including going to school.

Sha Jie said to Reuters: “I still prefer offline lessons because there is more interaction with my classmates.”

Sha’s mother, Zhang Xingmei, worries about the prolonged period of online schooling for her child as she says that normal lessons may only resume on May 1.

“It won’t affect the children much if we have them do online courses for just one or two weeks. At the start he might feel it’s fresh and be full of energy. But if it lasts for one or two months, and you hand over electronic gadgets like the iPad to him, he could easily be wandering,” she said.

She also expressed concern about the shortened class time in the online material provided, as compared to normal classes her child attends in school.

The new coronavirus appears to now be spreading much more rapidly outside China than within, and airports in hard-hit countries were ramping up screening of travellers.

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said almost eight times as many cases had been reported outside China as inside in the previous 24 hours, adding that the risk of coronavirus spreading was now very high at a global level.

The global death toll exceeded 3,000, with the number of dead in Italy jumping by 18 to 52. Latvia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Morocco reported cases for the first time, bringing the total to more than 60 countries with the illness known as COVID-19. (Reuters Connect)

(Production: Xihao Jiang, Fang Nanlin)

Bello tests positive for COVID-19

UNTV News   •   August 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

A statement released by the office of the Secretary on Tuesday (August 17), however, said Bello is “asymptomatic and remains on top of his health.”

The official is currently on self-quarantine at his hometown Ilagan, Isabela where the test was made on Saturday (August 14).

Secretary Bello, who was fully vaccinated, continues to discharge his functions even while in isolation.

“Prior to contracting the virus, the Secretary has been receiving officials and guests at his office, and traveled to various parts of the country distributing assistance to displaced and disadvantaged formal and informal sector workers affected by the pandemic,” DOLE said.

The Secretary wishes to thank the public for the support and reminds them to always observe the minimum health protocols to help contain the virus.

DOH, UP-PGC, UP-NIH confirm more COVID-19 variant cases

Maris Federez   •   August 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) has reported the detection of 182 Delta variant cases, 41 Alpha variant cases, 66 Beta variant cases, 40 P.3 variant cases, and the first case of the Lambda (C.37) variant of interest in the latest batch of whole-genome sequencing.

A statement released by the DOH on Sunday (August 15) said the latest sequencing run also included repeat samples that were sequenced on July 28 and were initially determined to have no lineage.


Delta variant cases:

Of the additional 182 Delta variant cases, 112 are local cases and 36 are Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF). Thirty-four cases, on the other hand, are currently being verified on whether they are local or ROF cases.

Of the 112 local cases, 42 cases had indicated addresses in the National Capital Region, while 36 cases had indicated addresses in Central Luzon.

Eight cases are reportedly from CALABARZON, six from MIMAROPA, six from Northern Mindanao, four from Central Visayas, three from the Davao Region, three from Caraga, two cases from Western Visayas, and one case each from the Cordillera Administrative Region and BARMM, the statement said.

The report said one of the cases is still active, while 176 have been tagged to have recovered from the highly contagious disease.

Four cases, on the other hand, have died and one case has an outcome that is still being verified, it added.

All other details are being validated by the regional and local health offices.

This update brings the total Delta variant cases to 807, the DOH said.


Alpha variant cases:

The health department also reported that of the additional 41 Alpha variant cases detected, 38 were local, one an ROF, and two are still being verified.

The DOH added that two cases have died, 36 cases have been tagged as recovered, and three cases have outcomes that are being verified.

With the recent update, the total Alpha variant cases are now 2,232.


Beta variant cases:

The DOH data further showed that the additional 66 Beta variant cases are comprised of 56 local cases and ten still undergoing verification.

Two Beta variant cases have died, 63 have been tagged as recovered, and one is still being verified.

After verification, the total Beta variant cases are now at 2,483, the DOH added.


P.3 variant cases:

Meanwhile, 37 of the 40 additional P.3 variant cases were found to be of local transmission, while three are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases.

All cases have been tagged as recovered, the health department said.


Lambda variant case:

The single case of the Lambda variant is reportedly a 35-year old female and is currently being validated as to whether she is a local or ROF case.

The DOH said the case was asymptomatic and tagged as Recovered after undergoing the 10-day isolation period.


“Regardless of the presence of any variant of concern, the DOH reiterates to the public the strict adherence to the minimum public health standards, strengthened PDITR, and vaccination strategies remain effective,” the statement said.

“Active case finding, aggressive contact tracing, and immediate isolation/quarantine can also lower the transmission of the COVID-19 and its variants,” it added.

The DOH also reminds the public to take care of their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It added that the Mental Health Crisis Hotline of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) is open 24/7 at 09663514518 or 09178998727 for Globe/TM subscribers and at 09086392672 for Smart/TnT/Sun subscribers.

Duterte wants government-to-government deal for COVID-19 vaccines

Maris Federez   •   October 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Tuesday that he is more inclined to having a government-to-government deal in procuring coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to prevent the risk of corruption.

The chief executive reiterated that the country will not beg other nations for access to vaccines, and that he favors purchasing vaccines from China or Russia. The two countries have submitted their applications to conduct clinical trials for their inoculations in the Philippines.

Hindi kami hihingi (we will not beg), we will pay,” Duterte said in a taped address to the nation aired on Tuesday (Oct. 27).

So maganda sana government to government ang transaction. Walang korapsyon, wala lahat kasi government to government (It would be better for the transaction to be government-to-government. No corruption, no nothing because its government-to-government),” he said.

Duterte also said that he had a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian on the status of their vaccine.

“We had a meeting with Ambassador Huang. He said the vaccine is there. It would be a matter of paano i-distribute (the manner of distribution) and what kind of transaction would it be for them and for us,” he said.

China’s Sinovac Biotech shall be starting the late-stage trials of its vaccine in the Philippines in November after the Food and Drug Administration has completed the evaluation of its application.

The Philippine government is also evaluating Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit for their application to conduct the Phase 3 trials of their COVID-19 vaccine.

Philippine authorities are also in talks with drugmaker Pfizer Inc. and with Moderna Inc. as potential suppliers.

The government has initially allotted $400 million to buy 40 million doses for 20 million Filipinos, as part of the administration’s plan to have the entire population inoculated.

As of Sunday (Oct. 25), the Philippines recorded 2,223 new coronavirus infections, and 43 more fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 370,028 cases, and 6,977 deaths. —/mbmf


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