53 new COVID-19 cases logged among Filipino nationals abroad

Marje Pelayo   •   February 3, 2021   •   419

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported 53 new cases of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection among overseas Filipinos as of Tuesday (February 2).

Also, 35 new recoveries in Asia and the Pacific and Europe.

This means to date, the number of COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad is at 14,016 and the number of recoveries is at 8,954.

No new fatality was reported, keeping the number of COVID-19 deaths among overseas Filipinos at 952 .

Meanwhile, the DFA said a total of 8,954 Filipinos are still undergoing treatment in different health facilities across the globe.

The Middle East and Africa remains to be the region with the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, recoveries, under treatment, and fatalities among Filipino nationals, the DFA said.

On the other hand, the Americas continue to record the least numbers in all categories compared to other geographic regions, except in the total number of deaths wherein Asia and the Pacific ranks lowest with a total of only 21.

Duterte dismisses former ambassador to Brazil

Maris Federez   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the dismissal of former Philippine Ambassador to Brazil Marichu Mauro.

In his public address on Monday (March 1), Duterte said he signed the document affirming the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) fact-finding team to dismiss Mauro.

“I signed the document affirming the decision,” he said.

The decision metes out dismissal from the service that carries with it accessory penalties such as cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office, the President said.

DFA Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr., meanwhile, described the President’s decision as “harsh”.

“It was a harsh decision affirming DFA’s decision and penalties TO THE LETTER against what was a fine diplomat. While her temper got the better of her in that case, she treated a self-important young diplomat the same way and his lousy character completely changed for the better,” he said on his Twitter post on Tuesday.

The president ordered the DFA to conduct an investigation on Mauro in October 2020 after a video showing Mauro abusing her Filipina helper in Brazil became viral.

The video was released by a Brazilian news platform Globo News in September last year showing CCTV footage where Mauro was physically abusing her 51-year-old household help at the Philippine ambassador’s official residence in Brasilia. —/mbmf

95 households in 55 communities in Pasay City now under localized ECQ

Freema Gloria   •   February 24, 2021

The Pasay City government has enforced localized enhanced community quarantine in 55 barangays due to the increasing cases of COVID-19 infections.

The LGU officials, however, clarified that the stricter quarantine classification is focused on 95 households that have 3 or more COVID-19 cases in the 55 barangays.

The localized ECQ is implemented by the barangay specifically to the households, compounds, and streets with 3 or more cases, not the entire barangay.

On Wednesday morning, personnel from the local government and the Pasay City Police have conducted random visits to the identified areas under community quarantine to ensure that residents observe health protocols.

Based on Pasay PNP data, more than 1,000 residents were apprehended for not wearing face masks, 142 individuals were issued with tickets for not wearing face shields; while 272 violated social distancing and 241 individuals were arrested for not following curfew hours since February 20.

PCOL Cesar Paday-os, chief of Pasay City Police, said they strictly impose P1,000 fine for every violation.

“Kaya ticket na lang po kami ng ticket sa mga walang face mask, walang face shield, violation of distancing pati na yung mga curfew na wala namang dahilan na nandiyan sa kalye. Kinukuha na natin yon. Kasi yung mga essentials lang at saka mga APOR lang yung mga authorized dyan”, Paday-os said.

The Pasay City government has recorded at least 435 active cases of COVID-19 in the city. Fifty-five of which are new cases.

According to Pasay City Command Center OIC Rhodora Pimlott, the spike in COVID-19 cases was first observed through their residents working in other cities, who have been tested positive for the virus.

“So, halimbawa, outside Pasay yung office na yon, yung kasama sa trabaho nag-positive eh, taga-Pasay. UUwi sa Pasay, contact-trace pala siya at hindi naman naming alam yun up until mag-positive kasi malalaman lang yun ng city pag lumabas na yung database at kinokontak kami”, Pimlott said.

The city government also considers the stay of overseas Filipino workers and seafarers in the city while waiting for their flights as a possible reason for the spread of COVID-19 in the area.

This opted the city to temporarily close its two transient dorms that shelter OFWs and seafarers.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said they are already investigating whether the surge of COVID-19 cases in Pasay City is related to the new cases found from the returning overseas Filipinos or ROF.

“Hindi natin nakikita yung link ditto po san a-identify na ROF before. Wala po siyang link. Pero, of course, we are still trying to investigate”

The DOH is now coordinating with the Pasay City government to be able to provide proper assistance to the LGU in line with the increasing COVID-19 cases in the city. (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Global COVID-19 cases continue to decline, WHO says

Robie de Guzman   •   February 16, 2021

The number of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases reported globally continues to decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

In a regular press briefing in Geneva on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the decline in global COVID-19 cases has been observed for the fifth consecutive week.

Tedros said that so far this year, the number of weekly reported cases has fallen by almost half, from more than 5 million cases in the week of January 4 to 2.6 million cases in the week starting February 8.

“This shows that simple public health measures work, even in the presence of variants,” he said.

Tedros, however, stressed that what matters now is how the world will respond to this trend.

“The fire is not out, but we have reduced its size. If we stop fighting it on any front, it will come roaring back,” he said.

In the hopes of bringing the pandemic under control, Tedros said the WHO has given emergency use listing for two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be rolled out globally through COVAX facility.

The WHO emergency use listing assesses and assures the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, and is a prerequisite for vaccines to be distributed by COVAX.

In addition to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, these are now the second and third vaccines to receive emergency use listing.

“We now have all the pieces in place for the rapid distribution of vaccines. But we still need to scale-up production, and we continue to call for vaccine developers to submit their dossiers to WHO for review at the same time as they submit them to regulators in high-income countries,” Tedros said.

The WHO chief emphasized that ensuring the rapid and equitable rollout of vaccines is essential in saving lives and livelihoods, as well as stabilizing health systems and economies.

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