WHO warns against using “herd immunity” to combat COVID-19

UNTV News   •   May 12, 2020   •   646

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned against the use of herd immunity to combat COVID-19, calling it a dangerous concept in the absence of an effective vaccine and does not protect the more vulnerable people in society.

Michael Ryan, executive director of the organization’s Health Emergencies Program, spoke during a virtual press conference from Geneva, adding “humans are not herds,” and responsible states should do their best to protect all people.

“Humans are not herds. And such the concept of herd immunity is generally reserved for calculating how many people would need to be vaccinated population in order to generate that same effect. So, I think we need to be really careful when we use terms in this way around natural infections in humans, because it can lead to a very brutal arithmetic which does not put people, and life, and suffering at the center of that equation,” he said.

The WHO official also added that “No one is safe until everyone is safe,” stressing the pandemic has left the world in a terrible state where in some places vulnerable people and healthcare workers are not properly protected. He believes responsible states will do their best to protect all their people.

“So, I do think this idea that, well, maybe countries who had lax measures and haven’t done anything will all of a sudden, magically reach some herd immunity. And so, what if we lose a few old people along the way. I mean this is a really dangerous, dangerous calculation. And that one I believe most member states are willing to make that arithmetic. Member states, responsible member states, will look at all their population. They value every member of their society and they try to do everything possible to protect health while at the same time, obviously, protecting society, protecting economy and other things,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s colleague and Technical Lead of the Health Emergencies Program, Maria Van Kerkhove, also noted during the press conference that the number of people who were tested of having the evidence of antibodies are quite small, saying, “The range is between 1 and 10 percent.”

As of 19:07 CEST (Central European Summer Time) on Monday, the world has 4,013,728 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 278,993 deaths, according to the WHO. (Reuters)

Patuloy na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level, kailangan vs bagong COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala ang isang infectious disease expert na dapat magpatuloy ang ipinatutupad na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level upang maagapan ang pagpasok ng panibagong variant ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay Infectious Disease Specialist at Department of Health Technical Advisory Group member, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, nakakabahala ang presensiya ng bagong COVID-19 variant kaya dapat magpatuloy ang genomic surveillance ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine Genome Center at National Institutes of Health upang ma-monitor kung may bagong coronavirus variant na nakapasok sa bansa.

“Sinusubaybayan natin ito bagamat hindi pa siya nagte-take over tulad ng Delta, nakakabahala rin ang mutations na taglay nito,” ani Salvaña.

“Lahat ng ginagawa natin para maprevent ang pagpasok ng bagong varaint, tuloy naman po talaga iyan. For instance yong genomic surveillance […] and the fact na na-detect na ang variant na ito at pinag-uusapan na ng WHO. Iyong UK nga nag- travel ban na sila. It shows na iyong ating global genomic surveillance is working and hopefully we can prevent the spread of any new variants that come up,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang bagong COVID-19 variant na B.1.1.529 ay natuklasan sa bansang South Africa noong Nobyembre 23 mula sa samples na kinuha mula November 14 hanggang 16.

Bagama’t wala pang kumpletong detalye ang sinasabing bagong variant at variant under monitoring pa lang ang klasipikasyon nito sa ngayon, sinabi ng World Health Organization (WHO) na kailangang bantayan ito ng maigi dahil nagtataglay ito ng maraming mutations na maaaring makaapekto sa behavior o bagsik ng virus.

Inaalam rin ang epekto ng variant sa diagnostics, sa bisa ng bakuna at mga gamot na ginagamit sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19.

“We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large of number mutations,” ang pahayag ni Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, ang COVID-19 Technical Lead ng WHO.

“Right now, researchers are getting together to where these mutations are and what that potentially mean for our diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines,” dagdag pa niya.

May mga kaso na ng ganitong variant na naitala sa ilang bahagi ng South Africa gaya ng Johannesburg, Gauteng at Botswana.

May napaulat na rin sa Hong Kong na isang biyahero mula sa South Africa.

Sa Pilipinas, wala pang iniuulat na kaso ng B1.1.529.

Tiwala naman si Salvaña na agad maaagapan ang pagpasok sa bansa ng nasabing variant dahil sa umiiral na COVID-19 restrictions.

Panawagan rin nito sa publiko na huwag maging kampante sa kabila ng pagbaba ng mga kaso dahil nananatili pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Mga ‘di susunod sa health protocols, pwedeng hindi papasukin sa mga establisimyento – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – May karapatan ang mga publiko at pribadong establisimyento na pagbawalang pumasok ang mga taong hindi susunod sa health protocols gaya ng tamang pagsusuot ng face mask.

Ayon kay acting Presidential spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, binigyan na ng pahintulot ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang mga establisimiyento na huwag papasukin ang sinumang susuway sa patakaran laban sa hawaan ng COVID-19.

“Mayroon pong authority ang mga establishments na doon sa mga di nagsusuot ng face mask o ‘di kayang magsuot ng face mask kabilang na po dito ang mga menor de edad, ay mayroon na po silang authority na di po papasukin sa kanila pong establismyento,” ani Nograles.

Panawagan namang opisyal sa mga lokal na pamahalaan na tiyaking naipatutupad ang minimum health standards sa kani-kanilang mga nasasakupan upang maiwasan ang muling pagtaas ng kaso ng coronavirus infections.

Muli ring umapela ang Palasyo sa mga magulang na huwag dadalhin ang kanilang maliliit na mga anak sa malls at iba pang lugar na close, crowded at maaaring mag-promote ng close-contact activities. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Airline companies rehiring laid-off crew as flights increase

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– Some airline companies have started the gradual rehiring of their flight and ground crew that were laid-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of flights continues to increase.

AirAsia said they will slowly reactivate over 400 former employees as domestic flights to some tourist destinations resume.

These workers include cabin crews, pilot ground staff and engineering personnel.

“Ngayon, we’re activating starting December. Mag-a-undergo na ng training yung at least 15 percent and then effective January 1, 2022, laha nitong mga All-Stars natin na nag-hibernate ay gradual na ring ire-reintegrate sa ating linya,” AirAsia spokesperson Steve Dailisan said.

AirAsia said it will also double the flights to several local destinations such as in Caticlan, which is the gateway to the world-renowned Boracay Island.

Airliner Cebu Pacific also announced it will be rehiring staff who were furloughed during the pandemic to prepare for the anticipated increase in domestic and international flights.

“Right now, we’re very prepared definitely. Our staff are fully-trained and are actually fully-vaccinated also—yung active flying crew natin. So, additional safety yan for our passengers,” said Michelle Lim, Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Manager.

Cebu Pacific said it will also increase flights to six local destinations including Boracay Island via the Caticlan Airport, Bohol, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos City.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) also announced it will operate more domestic and international flights amid increasing flight frequencies and booking.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said they are also planning to reactivate furloughed workers, but clarified they are yet to rehire laid-off workers as operations remain limited.

“By December, it will be one 1,350 in terms of cabin crew count that will be assigned to serve our flights because the number of cabin crews this year and at present and previous year was very much less because of the number of flights,” she.

Airline companies reminded passengers to be at the airport at least three hours before their scheduled flight and ensure they bring with them all travel documents required for their trip. (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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