9 more overseas Filipinos contract COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   January 22, 2021   •   460

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported that as of Thursday (January 21), nine more Filipinos abroad tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This brings the total number of confirmed cases among overseas Filipinos to 13,633.

Three more Filipinos abroad have recovered from the virus, bringing the total tally of recoveries to 8,748.

A total of 3,941 Filipinos in different areas overseas are undergoing treatment, the DFA said.

All new positive cases and recoveries were reported in Asia and the Pacific and Europe. 

Meanwhile, no new fatality was recorded.

The DFA vows it shall continue to keep track of the status of overseas Filipinos, and facilitate repatriations, whenever possible, as the pandemic continues. 

More frontliners in Manila register for city’s COVID-19 vaccination program

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—More frontliners in the city of Manila have pre-registered for the city’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination program.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso said that the number of registrants increased from the initial 200 to 1,900 on Monday when the government launched its vaccination drive.

This is almost half of the total number of medical frontliners in six government hospitals in the city.

Maraming na-inspire na mga doctor at nurses. So, umakyat ng 1,900 ang aming nagparehistro. So, kaya ang payo ko, don’t miss the opportunity. Ang pinakamabisang bakuna ay ang bakunang nasa braso mo (A lot of doctors and nurses were inspired so 1,900 registered. My advice is to not miss the opportunity. The most effective vaccine is the vaccine injected in your arm), he said.

Domagoso assured vaccine registrants they can still choose the brand of vaccine they want to receive.

An initial 3,000 Sinovac vaccine vials have been delivered to Manila City which will be administered to 1,500 individuals. The city government aims to vaccinate one of the two doses within the week.

Meanwhile, Domagoso said he is waiting for a proper clearance before getting vaccinated as policy states that medical frontliners are the priority for the COVID-19 vaccines. AAC

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

PH detects 6 cases of South Africa COVID-19 variant, 30 new cases of UK variant

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has recorded six new cases of the B.1.351 variant (South Africa variant) of COVID-19; 30 additional cases of the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant) and 2 cases additional cases with mutations of interest.

An official statement issued by the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said, the new cases were among 8th batch of 350 samples sequenced by the UP-Philippine Genome Center.

Of the six South African variant cases, three are local cases, two are returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and one case is still being verified as to location.

The three local cases were reported as residents of Pasay City. Meanwhile, the two returning overseas Filipinos arrived in the country from UAE and Qatar; their statuses are currently being verified. Moreover, the DOH is currently verifying if the sixth case is a local case or an imported case.

“To date, there are already 48 countries with reported cases of the B.1.351 variant. While there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease, the pattern of mutations within this variant suggests higher transmissibility and may have an impact on vaccine efficacy,” DOH said.

Meanwhile, of the 30 new cases of the UK variant 20 of these are ROFs; three are local cases, and seven are currently being verified if these are local cases or ROFs.

The 20 detected ROFs entered the country from the Middle East, Singapore, and the United States of America between January 20 and February 16, 2021. Thirteen (13) of these are asymptomatic active cases, while seven have now recovered.

On the other hand, the three (3) local B.1.1.7 variant cases are from the Cordillera Administrative Region.

One case is currently active and is admitted to a hospital, one has recovered, and one is a reported fatality. The relation of the 3 local cases to previously reported B.1.1.7 variant cases in the region is currently being investigated.

On the cases with mutations of interest, the latest sequencing results showed that two (2) additional samples from Region 7 were found to have both N501Y and E484K mutations.

The DOH reiterated that despite the arrival of the vaccines in the country, adherence to minimum public health standards is still the best course of action to prevent community transmission and further virus mutations.

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