WHO warns Western Pacific countries to prepare for ‘large-scale’ outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   April 1, 2020   •   853

MANILA, Philippines – The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Western Pacific region is far lower than the number in Europe and the United States.

China, the origin of the new virus, also reported low rate of new infection in the recent days since the pandemic started in January this year.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) cannot be complacent.

Who Regional Director Dr. Takeshi Kasai has warned countries in the Western Pacific Region, including the Philippines, “to prepare for the large-scale community outbreak.”

The official said one effective strategy to slow down the spread of COVID-19 is the lockdown, though such measure is not enough to stop the contagion.

Lockdown to be effective, we also have to continue find case, isolate and treat early and also trace and quarantine those contacts. Lockdown is a bundle of public health measures,” Dr. Kasai said.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus earlier urged people worldwide to always prepare as if they would contract the virus and governments to take a comprehensive approach to fighting the epidemic by tracing, testing and isolating as many cases as possible.

“To suppress and control the epidemic, countries must isolate, test, treat and trace,” the official said.

“If they don’t, transmission chains can continue at a low level and then resurface once physical distancing measures are lifted,” he added. He said the test and trace strategy must be the backbone of the response in every country.

Tedros also said that to speed up the search for treatment of the infection, the WHO and its partners are organizing a multi-country study to analyse and compare some yet untested treatments.

Europe is now considered to be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. MNP / Reuters

Belmonte, nanindigan sa ipinaiiral na ‘no fitting’ at ‘no return, no exchange’ policy sa malls sa Quezon City

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nanindigan si Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte sa mga polisiyang ipinatutupad sa ilang mall sa lungsod kasunod ng pagbubukas ng limitadong operasyon ng mga ito sa gitna ng community quarantine.

Kabilang sa mga polisiyang ito ang pagbabawal sa pagsusukat ng mga damit at ang ‘no return, no exchange policy’ o pagsasauli o pagpapapalit ng biniling produkto.

Ayon kay Belmonte, ang mga panuntunang ipinatutupad sa mga shopping mall sa lungsod ay bahagi ng precautionary measure laban sa novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Giit ng alkalde, malaki ang tiyansa na makahawa sa iba kung infected ng virus ang nagsukat ng damit.

“Initiative ng city government ito, kasi alam naman natin na ang clothes store ay bukas na at alam din natin na pwedeng matransmit ang virus sa pamamagitan ng damit and the city government ay nagkusa na no trying of clothes, walang pagsusukat,” ani Belmonte.

Aniya, batid niyang maraming magagalit sa kanyang patakaran ngunit humihingi siya ng pang-unawa sa publiko dahil para din naman ito sa kapakanan ng mga residente sa lungsod.

“Sa tingin ko, dapat maunawaan nila na this is for their own health and welfare and syempre, kung bumili ka na, ang understanding dyan nasukat mo na hindi mo na sana pwedeng ibalik yun, gusto nating protektahan ang kalusugan ng ating mamamayan,” ani Belmonte.

Ang pahayag ay ginawa ng alkalde matapos punahin ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ang mga nasabing polisiya sa ilang mall sa Quezon City.

Una nang sinabi ng DTI na labag sa batas ang ‘no return, no exchange’ policy dahil sa ilalim ng Republic Act 7394 o Consumer Act of the Philippines, may karapatan ang mga mamimili na isauli ang nabiling produkto lalo na kung ito ay depektibo.

Payo ng ahensiya, magpulong ang mga lokal na pamahalaan, mall operators at ang Department of the Interior and Local Government upang ayusin ang nasabing panuntunan.

Iminungkahi rin ng DTI ang pagkakaroon ng uniformed protocols na ipatutupad sa mga mall upang maiwasan ang kalituhan sa publiko. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

No tuition hike for several private colleges, universities—CHED

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said several private colleges and universities have assured that they will not implement a tuition fee increase this school year.

CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera said universities like the University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University already announced that they would not be increasing their tuition.

“Iyang mga universities na malalaki, kayang kaya nila itong financial situation (Those big universities, they can handle this financial situation) because their sources of income are varied. They have other businesses,” he said.

CHED also assured they already have a mandate on the implementation of staggered payment on tuition fees.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (May 28) has appealed to private school institutions to allow staggered payments. He also announced that parents, who cannot afford to pay their child’s education fees, can request for a loan.

“Itong Land Bank, bubuksan namin (We will open Land Bank) and you can borrow money to finance the education of your children,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

2 Chinese nationals nabbed for operating underground clinic in Pampanga

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Central Luzon Regional Office has arrested two Chinese nationals for operating an underground clinic and pharmacy in Angeles, Pampanga.

Authorities raided an underground medical clinic and pharmacy on Volga Street in Barangay Anunas on Thursday (May 28).

The arrested Chinese nationals were identified as 66-year-old Chen Zheng Zhong and 33-year-old son Chen Hai Fang. Chen Zheng Zhong is the doctor treating Chinese patients while his son sells illegal Chinese medicines.

According to the NBI, the suspects used a two-storey apartment as their underground clinic and pharmacy.

“Hindi mo talaga iisipin na mayroong clinic doon sa loob kasi isang apartment lang, (You wouldn’t think that there is a clinic inside because it’s only an apartment),” according to NBI Regional Office 3 Operations Officer Atty. Marvin de Jemil.

“Wala silang permit from the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and then naghahanap din kami ng business permit, wala din silang permit. Wala rin silang license to operate (They don’ have a permit from the FDA, nor a business permit. They also don’t have a license to operate),” Jemil added.

Upon inspection of the NBI and the FDA, they found six hospital-like beds, two beds on the first floor and four more beds on the second floor of the building.

The two suspects are now detained at the NBI regional Office at City of San Fernando, Pampanga and are facing several charges including the violation of the Medical Act of 1959. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

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