195 PDLs, 38 BJMP employees tested positive for COVID-19

Maris Federez   •   May 5, 2020   •   671

Inmates at the Manila City Jail | Courtesy: Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines — Close to 400 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) have undergone the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing.

The Department of Health (DOH) also reported that of the 373 PDLs who went through the test, 195 have yielded positive results.

Thirty-eight employees of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have also been infected with the deadly disease.

“Nakikipag-ugnayan ang DOH sa BJMP pati rin sa Philippine Red Cross (PRC) upang masiguro ang maagang ma-test, ma-isolate at magamot ang ang persons deprived of liberty, maging ang mga empleyado natin ng BJMP upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa loob ng mga kulungan,” said DOH spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The DOH also said that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have visited the Correctional Institute for Women where a significant number of detainees have tested positive of COVID-19.

Several testing activities are also being conducted among the PDLs and BJMP employees in different detention facilities in the country as part of the preventive measures against the infectious disease.

The DOH is determined to reach its target of 30,000 COVID-19 tests per day until the end of May.

Vergeire said the agency’s four soon-to-be-opened swabbing centers will be a big help in intensifying the country’s testing capability.

These swabbing centers are located in Bulacan, Pasay City, Taguig City and along Roxas Blvd. in Manila.

“Ang lahat ng ito ay magbubukas anomang araw ngayong linggo ayon kay BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) President Vince Dizon. Upang maabot ang ating mga resulta ng target na 30,000 tests kada araw sa darating na Mayo 31, ang DOH ay may itinalagang karagdagang lab encoders upang mapabilis ang labas ng mga resulta ng COVID-19 tests na isinagawa,” Vergeire added.

The health department will also deploy additional manpower in the designated swabbing centers to help fast track the processing of results. — (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Filipinos abroad with COVID-19 now at 9,607 – DFA

Robie de Guzman   •   August 4, 2020

The number of Filipinos overseas who have contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has increased to 9,607 with 10 new infections, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

In its latest bulletin, the DFA said 28 more Filipinos have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 5,681.

The death toll remained at 693, it added.

“As we continue to battle against this pandemic, the DFA rallies the Filipinos here and abroad to cooperate and responsibly adhere to precautionary measures of the local health authorities of the respective countries in which they reside,” the department said in a statement.

The DFA also reported that 3,233 are undergoing treatment.

Of this number, 254 are in the Asia Pacific Region, 512 in Europe, 2,327 in the Middle East and Africa, and 140 in the Americas, it added.

Mandaluyong LGU puts city under special concern lockdown

Maris Federez   •   August 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The local government of Mandaluyong has put all barangays in the city under special concern lockdown amid the implementation of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila.

Eleven barangays in the city are classified as areas of special concern by the local government due to high cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

But with the reversion of the National Capital Region (NCR) to MECQ on Tuesday (Aug. 4), the Mandaluyong government decided to put the whole city on special concern lockdown.

Mandaluyong’s Executive Order (EO) No 24 stated that under special concern lockdown, stricter curfew measures will be implemented from 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

Only individuals classified as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) will be allowed to go out.

The city government is also mulling over applying the previous MECQ guidelines anew, such as on scheduling market days in every barangay.

With the start of the curfew on Tuesday night, the local government advises those who work on graveyard shifts to secure a work pass from their employers.  

“Yung mga work passes kasi ang requirements lang naman niyan per barangay is to ahow to the barangay their ano certificate of employment. para atleast kahit papaano, makapasok sila sa trabaho nila,” said Jimmy Isidro, the Mandaluyong City government chief of staff.

The city government is also considering enforcing liquor ban in the area anew during the MECQ.

Employees at the Mandaluyong City Hall are also on a skeleton workforce to receive documents and transactions as business in the city is open as usual. — (with details from Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

Former gov’t COVID-19 special adviser calls for voluntary ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   August 4, 2020

Dr. Tony Leachon

MANILA, Philippines — Former Covid-19 National Task Force Adviser Dr. Tony Leachon said he recommended the re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila when he was invited to the Malacañan Palace on July 15.

Last weekend, medical professionals expressed the same recommendation to the national government in hopes of stopping the mounting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

But because of economic considerations, the government has decided to reinforce modified ECQ instead.

Leachon said he welcomes this decision.

“The MECQ has activity and mobility of 50 percent. It will not totally stop the transmission,” he noted.

“But we will observe in the next two weeks whether the MECQ will arrest the transmission,” he added.

He explained that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is alarming considering that there are unreported cases, or even deaths linked to the new coronavirus.

“When they go to the emergency room they are severely sick then would be intubated and they die, or they are rejected from the hospital so they die at home, or they don’t have access to RT-PCR because it’s expensive” Leachon explained.

So ang daming namamatay diyan na ganyan (So, many cases die that way )” he added.

At this point of the pandemic, Leachon is calling on the public to submit themselves to a voluntary ECQ especially the old and the sick.

Tayo na ang magboluntaryo mismo na huwag na tayo makadagdag. Ang lumabas na lang ay iyong talagang kailangang lumabas, iyong 50% ng workforce (Let’s take it upon ourselves not to add to the problem. Only those who need to go out should be outside, such as 50% of the workforce),” Leachon advised.

“Pero iyong iba, iyong 25% doon sa GCQ ay huwag na po. Huwag na, kasi kapag nagkasakit kayo wala ng pera nga ang government tapos baka magkasakit pa ang mga doktor (But others, the 25% in the GCQ areas, it’s better not to go out. Refrain from going out because once you get sick, the government no longer has funds and worse, the doctors might get sick as well)” he stressed.

Dr. Leachon also highlights the importance of adhering to the minimum health standards, including wearing a face mask and face shield, and using disinfectant for protection. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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