900K more doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrive in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2021   •   129

MANILA, Philippines—Around 900,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in the country over the weekend.

A total of 720,000 Sputnik V doses from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute were delivered on Saturday (October 16). The latest shipment is the largest delivery so far from the Russian-based vaccine maker.

To date, the country has received a total of 1,290,000 Sputnik V doses consisting of Components I and II.

An additional 207,090 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine also arrived on Saturday.

According to National Task Force Against COVID-19 special adviser Teodoro Herbosa said a portion of the vaccines will be delivered to Cebu and Davao, while the rest will be used for pediatric vaccination which began on Friday (October 15).

“We do hope that this will help a lot in our vaccination program. The other good news is we have reached about 92 million doses delivered to the Filipino people by the different brands. I think the promise of Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. of 104 million by the end of October will be fulfilled,” he said.

More COVID-19 vaccine supplies are expected to arrive in the country. The national government estimated around 140 million to 160 million doses will be delivered to the Philippines before the end of 2021. AAC

Mandatory use of face shields only when alert level goes up — DILG

Maris Federez   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The use of face shields will only become mandatory when cases of the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) Omicron variant is already recorded in the country and the alert level system goes up from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 3, said Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during the weekly Talk to the Nation aired Tuesday night, Año clarified that the government does not totally disregard the use of face shield which was, in fact, integrated into the country’s alert level system in COVID-19 response.

He said while face shield use is voluntary in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3, it has remained under the discretion of the local government units under Alert Level 4, and mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5, as stated in the current Alert Level system.

“Hindi naman po natin talaga totally na-discard ‘yung face shield. In-integrate lang po natin doon sa Alert Level System na sa Alert Level 1, 2, 3 ay voluntary po; Alert Level 4, may discretion ang LGU to impose; Alert Level 5, talagang mandatory,” Año said.

The DILG chief further clarified the use of face shields in layman’s terms and likened it to an umbrella.

“Para pong ano siya eh, sa layman’s term, ‘yung face shield po parang payong. ‘Pag malakas ang ulan nagpapayong po tayo; pero ‘pag wala nang ulan, pwedeng itabi lang muna ‘yung payong. Pero ‘pag uulan o kaya nakita natin na maulap, magdadala po ng paying,” he said.

Año stressed that the use of face shields is still well within the government’s policy.

“But, of course, sir, it will change kung may makapasok na Omicron,” he said.

The DILG chief underscored the government’s readiness once the Omicron variant enters the country.

“Now, we have instituted border controls. But our border in the southeast porous, iyon ang dapat bantayan po. Kasi kung mayroong mga pumasok na mga Filipino Muslims from Sabah, from Malaysia or Indonesia at hindi po dumaan sa port or seaport, airport, eh ‘yun po ‘yung talagang kailangang mabantayan,” Año warned.

As the department’s course of action, Año said he has coordinated with the military and has given directives to the police and the coast guard to implement strict and close monitoring in the country’s borders.

“Through the PNP (Philippine National Police), Armed Forces [of the Philippines], [and the Philippine] Coast Guard, maglalabas po kami nang mas mahigpit na mga direktiba para siguradong mabantayan ‘yung mga porous borders natin,” he said. —/mbmf

Philippines logs 425 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Tuesday recorded 425 new cases of COVID-19, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

The latest figure pushed the country’s total caseload to 2,832,734, the DOH said.

Around 0.6% or 15,800 of this number are active cases – 47.5% are mild, 5.3% are asymptomatic, 24.42% are moderate, 16.0% are severe, and 6.8% are in critical condition.

COVID-19 related deaths increased to 48,545 with 44 new fatalities.

Total recoveries rose to 2,768,389 after 909 more patients recovered from the viral disease.

The positivity rate was at 2.1% based on results of samples from 24,442 individuals tested on November 28.

Two accredited testing laboratories were not operational last Sunday while four others failed to submit data on time, the DOH noted.

The ICU bed utilization rate nationwide was at 26% while 25% in the National Capital Region.

Mandatory face shield use vs Omicron variant, hindi pa kailangan sa ngayon – WHO

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala ang World Health Organization (WHO) na hindi pa kailangan sa ngayon ang muling pagpapatupad ng mandatory face shield use sa harap ng banta ng bagong COVID-19 variant na Omicron.

Ayon kay WHO Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, mas mahalaga sa ngayon ang pagsunod sa health protocols gaya ng tamang pagsusuot ng face mask, physical distancing, at ang pagpapanatili ng kalinisan upang makaiwas sa COVID-19.

“WHO has right along said that this is a virus that is not airborne. It is closed contact transmission and that is why we emphasized that what is important is the physical distancing and face masking and hygiene,” ani Abeyasinghe.

“If we can ensure those minimum requirements, those minimum public health measure are complied with, if we can ensure that people don’t congregate in close settings, the requirement of face shield probably at this point of time is not mandatory,” dagdag pa niya.

Una nang inatasan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang mga eksperto at ang Inter-Agency Task Force na magsumite ng rekomendasyon hinggil sa posibleng pagbabalik ng mandatory face shield use dahil sa banta ng bagong variant.

Ang Omicron variant ay unang natuklasan sa South Africa noon lamang nakaraang linggo at ngayo’y napaulat na rin sa iba’t ibang bansa.

Sa ulat ng ilang eksperto, pinangangambahang mas agresibo at mas nakakahawa ang variant na ito dahil sa nakita ritong mutations na mas marami pa kumpara sa Delta variant.

Ngunit giit ng WHO, sa ngayon ay wala pang malinaw na detalye para sabihing mas mabagsik nga ang Omicron variant at may epekto ito sa transmission, mga gamot na ginagamit sa severe infection at sa bakuna laban sa COVID-19.

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