UK Covid-19 variant may be more deadly —British PM

Maris Federez   •   January 23, 2021   •   270

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the UK variant of the coronavirus disease may not just be more infectious but could also be more deadly.

“We have now learned that, in addition to spreading more quickly, the new variant of the virus may also be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” the prime minister said.

With this development, Johnson urged the public to be more cautious and avoid unnecessary travels or going out.

“It is therefore more important than ever that we all remain vigilant in following the rules and that we stay at home, protect the NHS and thereby save lives,” he added.

According to UK Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, research shows that the number of fatalities caused by the new variant is higher than that of the original strain.

“If you took… a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die,” said Vallance.

Vallance and Johnson, however, assured that the vaccine they use against the new COVID-19 variant is effective in fighting the virus.

“Both the vaccines we’re currently using remain effective both against the old variant and this new variant,” Johnson said. —/mbmf

Pasay City mayor open to possible city-wide ECQ to curb rising COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano on Thursday said she will not object should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) decide to place the entire city under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In an online media briefing, Rubiano said the city government is doing its best to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases.

She added that they have already looked into the idea of placing the city under ECQ upon learning of the detection of the more contagious COVID-19 variant, initially reported in South Africa in Pasay.

Rubiano, however, noted that placing Pasay City under ECQ will have an impact on the entire National Capital Region since the city is considered as a travel hub.

“Ang impact kasi ay nasa entire NCR dahil nakita niyo po at siyempre sa country na rin dahil nandidito po sa amin ang airport, MRT, LRT,” she said.

“Travel hub po kami at yung domestic air travel will be cancelled while international travel will be restricted,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rubiano confirmed that four residents of Pasay have tested positive for the new COVID-19 variant but all of them have already recovered.

The mayor also said that the patients were under quarantine when results of their tests came out.

“Yes po, recovered na pero inuulit po namin ang kanilang swab nang makasigurado po tayo. Na-isolate po namin agad sila pati po na-contact trace,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Janice Ingente)

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to arrive on March 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The 487,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX facility are set to arrive on Thursday night (March 4), according to Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go.

In a statement, Go said President Rodrigo Duterte will personally witness the arrival of the said vaccines. Go added that medical frontliners will now have the option to choose the brand of COVID-19 vaccine they want to receive.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. also confirmed it’s arrival, further explaining that the shipment is part of the first round of allocated doses from the COVAX facility.

The vaccines were initially scheduled to arrive on March 1 but was delayed due to “supply problems.”

Go, meanwhile, hopes for the continuous rollout of the country’s vaccination program and encouraged the public to register for vaccination.

Sana po ay tuloy-tuloy na po ang pagro-rollout ng pagbabakuna at dapat nating kunin ang kumpyansa ng mamamayan na ang tanging solusyon, ang tanging susi ay ang bakuna lamang para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal nating pamumuhay, (I hope the vaccination rollout will continue and we should get the trust of our citizens which is the solution, the key for our lives to return to normal),” he said. AAC (witth reports from Harlene Delgado)

Cinemas in GCQ areas to reopen on March 5 with limited capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 3, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Cinemas and other recreational establishments in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas will reopen on March 5, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Based on the Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 21-08, s. 2021, cinemas in GCQ areas will only have a 25% capacity and moviegoers will not be allowed to eat and drink inside. Facemask must be worn at all times.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a statement, said this is to help businesses to recover from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as well as to provide more jobs for Filipinos.

“Following the earlier agreement at the IATF, DTI issued the circular that will guide the implementation of a safe and gradual reopening of more businesses and economic activities. This is part of our mandate to ensure that as more businesses reopen to provide more jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, the strict health protocols are enforced,” he said.

Meanwhile, cinemas will be able to operate at 50% capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Libraries, museums, and parks are allowed at 75% capacity.

Lopez also reiterated minimum health standards will still be strictly implemented in both GCQ and MGCQ areas, especially while the government continues to reopen establishments for the country’s economic recovery. -AAC (with reports from JP Nunez)

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