Universal Pictures will make movies available at home and in theaters on the same day

UNTV News   •   March 17, 2020   •   116

Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast Corp -owned NBCUniversal, will make its movies available at home on the same day they are released in theaters worldwide, beginning with the DreamWorks Animation film “Trolls World Tour” – which opens in the United States on April 10.

The decision, announced by NBCUniversal on Monday (March 16), is a response to changing consumer behavior as the coronavirus spreads. It upends the traditional practice of keeping a movie exclusively in theaters for what is typically a 90-day window before releasing it on other platforms.

NBCUniversal will “continue to evaluate the environment as conditions evolve,” the company said in a statement, adding it will revisit the strategy when the current situation changes.

On Sunday night, the mayors of New York and Los Angeles ordered movie theaters in their respective cities to close in response to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

NBCUniversal said that by Friday, recently released films including “The Hunt,” “The Invisible Man” and “Emma” will be available from sister companies Sky and Comcast and on a variety of on-demand services. The suggested price will be $19.99 in the United States for a 48-hour rental, and the equivalent price elsewhere.

“Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable,” said NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Jeff Shell in a statement.

Between this past Friday and Sunday, North American movie box office sales hit their lowest levels in over two decades, according to Comscore, as viewers stayed home and theaters capped their seating capacity to create more space between moviegoers. (Reuters)

(Production: Rollo Ross)

Bongbong Marcos says ‘he’s OK, on home quarantine’

Robie de Guzman   •   March 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday belied claims circulating online that he is currently confined in a hospital.

In a statement, Marcos said he is under home quarantine after feeling ill when he returned home from a recent trip.

Incumbent Senator Imee Marcos earlier revealed that her brother arrived sick from his trip to Spain, which has recorded 3,434 deaths from COVID-19.

“I am deeply touched and overwhelmed by your concern over my condition. Don’t worry I am doing OK and contrary to popular belief, I am home on self-quarantine,” he said.

“As my sister said, a few days ago I was feeling a little under the weather and as a result went to get checked. We are still waiting for the results,” he added.

Marcos, however, did not say if the test was administered by the Department of Health’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

A photo of Marcos sitting on his bed while holding a newspaper was attached to the statement sent to reporters.

The former senator said he is now feeling better and thanked the doctors and nurses who attended to his needs.

“Fortunately, I feel much better and am getting stronger by the day. I have no doubt in my mind that this is partly due to the excellent work of the nurses and doctors who helped me during this time,” he said.

Zamboanga City conducts contact tracing, stricter quarantine as it records first COVID-19 case

Robie de Guzman   •   March 25, 2020

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The city government of Zamboanga said it has started tracing all people who have had contact with its first case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar made the announcement on Monday night after confirming the city’s first case – a 29-year old male resident of Sinunuc in Zamboanga City.

“As of 8pm tonight, the city of Zamboanga has recorded its first COVID-19 case, based on the result and test conducted by the health agencies, the Department of Health,” she said.

Salazar added that the patient had traveled from Metro Manila via Philippine Airlines flight PR 2993, and arrived in the city on March 13.

He experienced fever and chills – which are among the coronavirus symptoms – two days later.

On March 16, he consulted a local private hospital and was considered a person under investigation due to his travel history.

He underwent testing the same day, and his swab specimen was sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on March 17.

His test result came out positive for COVID-19 on March 24.

According to City Health Officer Dr. Dulce Miravite, the patient is in stable condition and had only manifested mild symptoms.

Miravite added that the patient has been under strict home quarantine.

“Na-monitor natin sa barangay, and minomonitor natin to siya everyday. So far, ang symptoms niya ay improving,” she said.

Salazar said they are now implementing stricter containment measures, especially in the village where the patient is residing, to stop the spread of the virus.

The mayor warned penalties against residents who will disobey the home quarantine and social distancing measures against COVID-19.

To date, the city has reported 31 patients under investigation but 17 of them have tested negative for coronavirus. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

DOH tells travelers from NCR to undergo strict 14-day home quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   March 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday advised all travelers going out of Metro Manila, who are without symptoms of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), to undergo strict home quarantine for 14 days.

In a statement, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that those who traveled from the National Capital Region (NCR) going to other provinces will be considered as persons under monitoring (PUM).

Travelers from Metro Manila experiencing fever, dry cough, or any respiratory symptoms will be considered as patients under investigation (PUI), and are advised to seek medical attention from a health facility.

The DOH issued the statement following reports of hundreds of residents from Metro Manila rushing to return to their home provinces before the month-long community quarantine declared by President Rodrigo Duterte to combat coronavirus takes effect on Sunday, March 15.

During the quarantine period, travel by land, domestic sea and air to and from Metro Manila will not be allowed. Residents are also advised to stay in their homes and avoid unnecessary movements within the region.

“Let us cooperate with our healthcare workers and local government authorities to stop the spread of this disease to other communities. The department is issuing guidelines for the health and safety of all Filipinos,” Duque said.

“Let us follow these stringent infection prevention interventions without fail. Only through the genuine help of all Filipinos will we be able to stop this health emergency,” he added.

The community quarantine was declared in Metro Manila with the hoisting of the Code Red Sub-level 2 alert.

The Philippines has been placed under a state of public health emergency due to rapidly increasing cases of coronavirus infections.

To date, the country has recorded more than 100 cases of COVID-19 with eight fatalities.

Worldwide, the virus which originated in Wuhan City in China, has infected more than 130,000 people and killed over 4,000 in 122 countries based on the latest data from the World Health Organization.


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