1,631 new COVID-19 cases recorded as of Nov. 27

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 27, 2020   •   179

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) recorded 1,631 new COVID-19 cases Friday (November 27), bringing the national tally to 425,918.

The number of active cases is 7.1% of the total cases or 30,047.

Meanwhile, the total number of recovered patients increased to 387,616 after the DOH logged 370 additional recoveries.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 8,255 with 46 new fatalities.

The Health Department also reported, 10 duplicates were removed from the total case count while 33 cases that were previously reported as deaths were reclassified as recovered (8) and active (25) after final validation. There are also 13 cases previously tagged as recovered that were reclassified as deaths. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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Senators seek third hearing on government’s COVID-19 vaccine plan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Several Senators seek a third hearing to further discuss the national government’s COVID-19 vaccine plan.

The Senate Committee of the Whole may call for another public hearing on the government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Senator Franklin Drilon, in a statement, said the two-day inquiry left more questions than answers.

“There are still a number of issues hanging. These too many unanswered questions raise grave concerns, for the survival of the country largely depends on our ability to implement a successful vaccination program against the COVID-19 virus,” he said.

Drilon noted that the pricing, the sourcing of the vaccines, the delivery schedules, and the logistical support plan are several of the urgent questions needed to be answered.

“We did not get any definite answers to these serious questions. I believe another round of hearing is in order. I support the call of Sen. Panfilo Lacson for more hearings,” he added. –AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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Roque reiterates Sinovac-PH agreement already ‘binding obligation’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday (January 18) reiterated that the vaccine deal between the Philippines and Sinovac is a ‘binding obligation’.

This was contrary to the statement of the Department of Finance (DOF) that the term sheet signed by the Philippines and China regarding Sinovac vaccines is not yet a done deal.

According to the DOF, the Philippines can still back out from the deal should Sinovac fails to comply with the regulatory process of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Roque said that the second obligation in the contract is the procurement of the vaccines which is subject to one of the conditions agreed upon by the parties, and that is the approval of the FDA.

“Kontrata na po yan, kaya nga lang po, yun pangalawang obligasyon, at ito po ang pagbibili ay naka-subject po sa condition na pinag-agreehan ng mga Partido. […] But that is already a binding obligation,” Roque said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the vaccine experts panel of the government said the efficacy rate is not the only basis to prove that a vaccine is effective.

“Ang isa sa pinaka-importante na parameters sa isang bakuna, kapag nabakunahan ka, ma-prevent mo ba ang severe disease over mild. If this vaccine can prevent severe disease, then I would choose given that 50% efficacy rate niya,” he said.

Around 50,000 Sinovac vaccines are set to arrive by February. They will be given to health workers once the FDA approves its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Roque: Listen to vaccine experts, not social media influencers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday (January 18) advised the public to trust experts and not social media influencers regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

During a press briefing, Roque said it is wrong to compare vaccines to detergent soap which is an apparent reply to a tweet of comedian Vice Ganda.

Roque said there is less supply of vaccines compared to the supply of clothing detergents. He also reiterated that vaccine experts are more knowledgeable on which COVID-19 vaccines are better.

Nag-aagawan nga po tayo sa 18% na supply. Pangalawa, hindi lang naman po gagamitin para sa damit. Kaya nga po, hindi lang po isa, hindi lang po dalawa, kundi tatlong grupo pa ng mga eksperto ang magsusuri kung ang mga bakuna ay ligtas at epektibo (We are vying for 18% of [vaccine] supply. Secondly, it will not be used for clothing. Three groups of vaccine experts are reviewing which vaccines are safe and effective),” he said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz).

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