WHO urges countries to use “second window of opportunity” to stop COVID-19 transmission

UNTV News   •   March 26, 2020   •   593

The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday urged all countries to use the “second window of opportunity” to suppress and stop the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This window of opportunity was created by those countries and regions which introduced unprecedented “lockdown” measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted at a daily briefing, reminding that these measures will not extinguish epidemics on their own.

“Asking people to stay at home and shutting down population movement is buying time and reducing the pressure on health systems, but on their own, these measures will not extinguish epidemics. The point of these actions is to enable the more precise and targeted measures that are needed to stop transmission and save lives. We call on all countries who have introduced so-called lockdown measures to use this time to attack the virus,” he said.

Tedros recommended six key actions to enable the more precise and targeted measures.

Specifically, he called on countries to expand, train and deploy health care and public health workforce, implement a system to find every suspected case at community level, and ramp up the production, capacity, and availability of testing equipment.

He also suggested identifying, adapting and equipping facilities for treating and isolating patients, developing a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts, as well as refocusing the whole of government on suppressing and controlling COVID-19.

“We have been saying for more than two months now this virus is public enemy number one. It’s a dangerous virus, and we have been saying to the world that the window of opportunity is narrowing and the time to act was actually more than a month ago or two months ago. But we still believe that there is an opportunity. I think we squandered the first window of opportunity but we are saying today my message, I made it clear that this is a second opportunity which we should not squander,” said Tedros.

The WHO situation dashboard showed a total of 416,686 cases of COVID-19 were reported worldwide as of 18:00 CET (1700 GMT) Wednesday, as the virus spread to 196 countries and regions.

The global death toll from COVID-19 has climbed to 18,589.

Outside China, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 334,817, among which over 190,000 cases were reported by the four most affected countries with over 30,000 cases each — Italy, the United States, Spain, and Germany. (Reuters)

Daily COVID-19 cases sa NCR, posibleng madoble kung hindi magpapatupad ng hard lockdown — OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Naniniwala ang OCTA Research group na dapat magpatupad ang pamahalaan ng “circuit breaker” lockdown upang mapigil ang posibilidad ng lubhang pagkalat ng Delta COVID-19 variant sa bansa.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. Ranjit Rye, maaaring magpatupad ng dalawang linggong enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) o kaya ay modified ECQ upang hindi magaya ang Pilipinas sa sitwasyon sa mga kalapit bansa nang kumalat ang Delta variant.

“What we’re envisioning is something along MECQ, ECQ. They will depend on the government and the amount of precaution we need… It was a precautionary recommendation because of an impending, clear, and present danger post of Delta,” ani Rye.

Sa pagtaya ng grupo, kapag hindi naagapan ay maaaring makapagtala ng 1,500 hanggang 3,000 kaso ng COVID-19 kada araw sa National Capital Region sa susunod na dalawang linggo.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. David Guido, nasa 1.33 na ngayon ang COVID-19 reproduction number sa NCR.

Halos kapareho aniya ito ng reproduction rate nang magkaroon ng surge noong unang bahagi ng 2020.

“It looks like it is manageable this time but it may no longer be manageable if we wait too long, before we make a crucial decision in our pandemic management,” ani Guido.

“We are averaging 1,000 cases. Two weeks ago it was just 600, and we thought it was decreasing, but something is driving the pandemic and pushing the caseload higher,” dagdag pa niya.

Dapat ding iwasan na umabot pa ang bansa sa worst-case scenario at umabot sa critical level hanggang 100% full ang hospital capacity sa NCR sa buwan ng Agosto.

Kasabay ng mga paghihigpit ng quarantine classification ay ang tuloy tuloy at mas mabilis na COVID-19 vaccination sa bansa.

Inirerekomenda rin ng grupo na paikliin ang interval sa pagbibigay ng doses ng Sinovac at AstraZeneca vaccines.

“Ramp up vacination even while we’re on lockdown. We can still do it,” ani Rye.

“OCTA is exhorting government to focus on its plan, we believe its plan will work in which the NCR plus 10. I was told by Sec. (Carlito) Galvez some time in August, 2 million Moderna vaccines are coming through as a donation from the United States,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, inayunan naman ni Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Secretary Joey Concepcion ang panukalang ito ng OCTA.

“If the government, DOH Secretary Duque will push for a two-week hard lockdown, we will support it because we will prefer to solve the problem early and not wait for the problem to get bigger, then we will have to lockdown for months. That is the most catastrophic thing that could happen in our country if that happens in the 4th quarter,” ani Concepcion.

Una nang ipinahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kaniyang huling State of the Nation Address na kung kinakailangangan ay magpapatupad muli ng lockdown ang pamahalaan dahil sa banta ng Delta variant

Patuloy ang pakiusap ng mga awtoridad sa publiko na maging responsable, huwag magpakampante at magpabakuna na upang makaiwas sa mas mabagsik na Delta COVID-19 variant. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Close to 3,000 contact tracers trained; 1,800 deployed — TESDA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has announced that the government has already trained close to 3,000 contact tracers and has deployed almost 1,800 of them.

During a virtual public briefing on Wednesday (July 28), TESDA Deputy Director-General Aniceto Bertiz said that aside from the programs allotted for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and individuals who lost their jobs to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, TESDA is also training individuals to become contact tracers.

“We were able to produce 2,978 contact tracers all over the country. Halos 1,800 of those are already hired sa mga local government unit (LGUs) (Almost 1,800 of those are already hired by local government units),” he said.

The TESDA official also said they continuously coordinating with LGUs and other industries for the new contact tracers to be hired especially amid the threat of the Delta variant.

Bertiz, meanwhile, said the free upskill training of TESDA will help in lowering the number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos in the country.

Hinuhubog natin ang ating mga kababayan na magkaroon ng bagong kakayahan and at the same time, we are connecting them hanggang kabuhayan (We are honing our fellowmen to acquire new skills and at the same time, we are connecting them to have livelihood),” he said. -AAC

PH gov’t open to lockdown bid to curb threat of Delta variant — NTF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is studying all options and proposals to prevent the further transmission of the more infectious variants of COVID-19 in the country, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said Wednesday.

During a televised public briefing, NTF deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon said the government is open to implementing lockdowns in Metro Manila amid increasing cases of COVID-19.

“Nakita natin ang experience ng ibang bansa at kailangang maghanda tayo dito; kailangan lahat ng options ay maging open tayo kung ano ang puwedeng gawin,” he said.

Dizon made the remark when asked to respond to the OCTA Research group’s suggestion to implement a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown in Metro Manila after its COVID-19 reproduction rate climbed to 1.33.

He, however, stressed that the government needs to balance every aspect as further restrictions will make the economy bleed.

“Pero siyempre kailangan ibalanse natin lahat yan at napakahirap po ng mga desisyon na ganito lalo na sa ating mahal na pangulo. Kaya kailangan guided tayo ng ating mga eksperto at pipilitin nating makahanap ng balansyadong solusyon,” he said.

He also said that the best move right now is to prepare for the possible new COVID-19 surge by further strengthening the country’s healthcare capacity and speed up vaccination against COVID-19.

“Hindi ko po masasabi yan kasi unpredictable ito. Nakita natin ang nangyari sa ibang mga bansa, walang naging handa. Pero pipilitin natin na maghanda ng mga supplies na kailangan natin, maghanda ng ICU beds, regular beds at maghanda sa mas madami at mas mabilis pang pagbabakuna,” he said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 18 million COVID-19 shots. Over 6.8 million individuals have completed their doses.

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