Aktibong kaso ng COVID-19 sa NCR, posibleng pumalo sa 80,000 sa katapusan ng Agosto – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2021   •   180

MANILA – Patuloy ang pagtaas ng naitatalang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa, batay sa monitoring ng Department of Health (DOH).

Ayon kay DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director, Dr. Alethea de Guzman, mas mataas ng halos 3,000 ang naiuulat na kaso kada araw sa bansa mula Agosto 19 hanggang 25 kumpara sa nakalipas na linggo na umabot sa 12, 897.

Sa National Capital Region (NCR), mahigit 4,000 naman ang naitatalang bagong kaso kada araw.

Ayon kay De Guzman, maaaring makita ang ‘peak’ ng mga kaso sa susunod na linggo dahil hindi pa nararamdaman sa ngayon ang epekto ng ipinatutupad na enhanced community quarantine sa ilang lugar.

Sa NCR, posible aniyang pumalo sa 80,000 ang active cases sa katapusan ng Agosto mula sa mahigit 35,000 lamang ngayong linggo dahil na rin sa pagtuloy na pagkalat ng Delta COVID-19 variant.

Inaasahan rin ang mas mataas na bilang ng mga kaso dahil sa mas pinaigting na testing at contact tracing.

“The increase in cases can really come from any and all areas here… All regions have positive growth rate already. This is something na nakikita in the next few weeks na posibleng tumataas pa iyong kaso,” ani De Guzman.

“If they ramp up these activities, we should be seeing a slow down approximately 2 to 3 weeks after, kasi nakikita mo na, naa-isolate mo na… In the projections, nakikIta natin may range tayo na posibleng makita. Sa ngayon I think the lowest is 66,000 by the end of August puwede tayong umabot ng almost 80,000 by the end of August,” dagdag pa niya.

Ayon kay De Guzman, lubos nang pinaghahandaan ng DOH ang lalo pang pagtaas ng kaso sa mga susunod na linggo.

Kabilang aniya sa mga hakbang na isinasagawa ay ang pagdaragdag ng bed capacity, medical supplies, at healthcare workers sa mga ospital.

Sa ngayon, ayon kay De Guzman, nananatiling nasa high-risk classification sa COVID-19 ang buong bansa dahil sa pagtaas ng healthcare utilization rate.

Sampung rehiyon na rin ang nasa 70-80 porsiyento na ang okupadong ICU beds.

Nasa 89 porsiyento naman ng mga rehiyon sa bansa ang nasa alert level 3 at 4 na ang ibig sabihin ay mahigit na sa 70 porsiyento ang okupadong isolation ward at ICU beds at ginagamit na mechanical ventilators sa mga ospital.

“The challenge here is that more areas are actually under alert level 4 and that really spreads our resources,” ani De Guzman.

Bawat rehiyon sa bansa ay may umiiral na dalawang COVID-19 variants maliban sa Bangsamoro region na wala pang napapaulat na local case ng Delta variant.

Muli namang pakiusap ng DOH sa publiko na huwag balewalain ang umiiral na health protocols at manatili lamang sa bahay kung walang mahalagang lakad bilang tulong na rin sa medical workers at essential frontliners na patuloy na nakikipagbaka sa COVID-19 pandemic. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

 

Philippines adds France to Red List

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Wednesday placed France on the Philippines’ Red list or countries that are high risk for COVID-19, Malacañang said.

In a statement, acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the escalation of France to the Red list is effective 12:01 a.m. of December 10 to 15.

Travelers who have been to France within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, and who will arrive on December 10 to 12, shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with an RT-PCR test on the 7th day, with day one being the date of arrival.

“Notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result, the completion of the 14-day quarantine is required,” Nograles said.

Beginning 12:01 a.m. of December 13 until December 15, entry in any port of the Philippines shall not be allowed for passengers coming from or who have been to France within the last 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines, regardless of vaccination status.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to existing testing and quarantine protocols for Red List countries/territories/jurisdictions.

“As with all international inbound travel, the testing and quarantine protocols for minors shall follow the testing and quarantine protocols of the parent/guardian traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status,” Nograles said.

“This notwithstanding, children 3 years old and below, regardless of country of origin, shall be exempt from the requirement of presenting a negative RT-PCR test result before boarding the flight, unless symptomatic,” he added.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Palace official said that passengers who arrived prior to December 10, 2021 and are currently undergoing quarantine shall complete the testing and quarantine protocols in effect at the time of their arrival.

All passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through France shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into such country by its immigration authorities.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall comply with the applicable testing and quarantine protocols for passengers who have not been to any Red List country/territory/jurisdiction.

The updated Red List comes amid the looming threat of newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant.

DOH Sec. Duque, pabor na manatili sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala si Health Secretary Francisco Duque III na dapat munang manatili sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang Metro Manila sa kabila ng patuloy na pagbaba ng naitatalang panibagong kaso ng coronavirus infections.

Ayon kay Duque, ito ay dahil sa banta ng Omicron COVID-19 variant na kumakalat ngayon sa maraming bansa.

“Para sa akin, dapat siguro na tama lang na manatili muna tayo sa alert level 2. Bakit kamo? Unang-una, ang mobility pataas na naman ngayong kapaskuhan, alam natin iyan. At merong nagbabadya o banta ng Omicron variant,” ani Duque.

Ang Metro Manila ay nasa ilalim ng Alert Level 2 hanggang Disyembre 15.

Aniya, pag-uusapan ng Inter-Agency Task Force sa pagpupulong sa Huwebes kung kailan maaaring ibaba ang rehiyon sa Alert Level 1.

Kung mananatili ang alerto matapos ang Disyembre 15, sinabi ni Duque na makakatulong pa rin naman ito upang makabawi ang maraming negosyo lalo na ngayong holiday season.

“Anyway, malaki-laki na rin ng bahagi ng ekonomiya na binuksan natin under the Alert level 2 at ang mga establisymento–ang kanilang kapasidad nasa 50 percent,” ang wika ng DOH chief.

Sa ngayon ay wala pang napapaulat na kaso ng Omicron variant sa Pilipinas.

Ayon sa pamahalaan, mataman nitong binabantayan ang mga kaso ng Omicron na naitatala sa ibang bansa pati na ang mga karagdagang impormasyon ukol sa bagong variant mula sa mga eksperto.

Ayon kay acting Presidential Spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, kabilang sa kanilang mga inaantabayanan ay ang galaw ng virus at kung gaano ito kabilis makahawa kumpara sa iba pang variant tulad ng Delta, Alpha, at Beta.

“Everyone is monitoring kung ito bang Omicron is more fatal, yun ang pinaka-aabangan natin. If it is more fatal, if it is more severe, if it is more indeed transmissible. So, we still await the final word from the WHO.

Sinabi naman ni Duque na batay sa mga nakukuha nilang inisyal na datos mula sa WHO, lumalabas na nagdudulot ng mild cases ng COVID-19 ang Omicron.

“So far sa ating pakikipagpulong sa WHO country representative Dr. Rabi Abeyasignghe, sinabi niya na lumalaki ang datos na nagpapakita na mukhang mild ang symptoms and no deaths reported as of yet patungkol sa Omicron variant pati hospitalization mukhang hindi sumisipa,” ani Duque.

Ang Omicron variant ay unang natuklasan sa South Africa. Sinasabing heavily mutated ito at may posibilidad na mas nakakahawa pa kumpara sa ibang variant ng COVID-19.

Sa ngayon, ayon sa WHO, ay patuloy pang pinag-aaralan ng mga dalubhasa ang nasabing variant, partikular na ang transmission rate nito at epekto sa ginagamit na gamot sa COVID-19 patients at mga bakuna.

PHL attains ‘substantial population immunity’, OCTA Research fellow says

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines may have already attained “substantial population immunity” to COVID-19 amid decreasing number of coronavirus infections recorded in the past few weeks, an OCTA Research fellow said.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte during the pre-taped public address aired late Monday, OCTA Research fellow Nicanor Austriaco said the country had the highest mobility levels in the past 20 months and experienced the lowest levels of cases and hospitalizations during the same period even with the presence of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

Delta is said to be the most contagious variant of COVID-19.

“And so what these three mean together is that it suggests that we have attained substantial population immunity from natural infections and vaccinations in the urban areas of the Philippines because the pandemic has raged and spread primarily in our cities and in our first class municipalities,” Austriaco said.

“And so the fact that the virus is struggling to find new Filipinos to infect, suggests that we have attained substantial population immunity,” he added.

Comparing the Philippines with its three neighbors in Southeast Asia, Thailand and Malaysia still haven’t seen dip in cases despite having much earlier surges and the two nations are still experiencing 5,000 cases per day.

Vietnam, he said, also had a Delta peak. Unfortunately, Delta has resurged and Vietnam is still experiencing significant numbers of COVID-19 at 15,000 or so every day.

The difference, Austriaco noted, is that the Philippines had substantial waves of previous variants especially the Alpha and Beta, which struck the country in March and April of this year unlike these three other countries.

“And so combining the vaccinations and the natural immunity, what you are seeing here is that many of our cities where the pandemic tends to focus, are now stable enough to prevent transmission,” he said.

The OCTA Research fellow also advised Filipinos not to panic amid the threat posed by COVID-19 Omicron variant, and instead move with caution in celebrating the holidays.

“And so this is not the time to panic. It is the time to be careful. We have to prepare. But we also have to celebrate especially since this is Christmas,” he said.

Austriaco suggested that the country prepare its hospital infrastructure and increase healthcare workers staffing capacity, as he noted reports on nursing staff shortages in Metro Manila during the Alpha and Delta surges in the country.

The government also has to continue vaccinating and boosting the immunity of its population especially senior citizens, he added.

He likewise suggested the strengthening of population immunity around international gateways as the Omicron variant will likely enter the country through an airport.

The Omicron, which was recently classified as variant of concern by the World Health Organization, has not yet been detected in the Philippines.

“I must urge you to get vaccinated because Omicron, when it arrives in the Philippines, will find every unvaccinated Filipino. And you will get sick, and even though it is mild, it is still COVID-19,” he said.

The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated more than 38 million Filipinos against COVID-19.

Since March, the government has administered 91.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses – more than 56 million of this number was given as first doses.

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