Boston Marathon cancelled for first time in its history

UNTV News   •   May 29, 2020   •   573

The Boston Marathon, originally scheduled to be held in April and then postponed until September because of the COVID-19 pandemic, has now been cancelled for the first time in its history, organisers said on Thursday (May 28).

The race, held annually since 1897, is the world’s most prestigious marathon and generally draws over 30,000 runners from all over the world.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the race, whose field attracts decorated professionals and Olympians to amateur runners, was not feasible this year due to the pandemic.

“While our goal and our hope is to make progress in containing the virus and recovering our economy, this kind of event would not be responsible or realistic on September 14 or any time this year,” Walsh said at a live news conference in Boston.

The 26.2-mile race (42km), which extends from the suburb of Hopkinton to downtown Boston, is the first of the six World Marathon Majors to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, which brought live sports to a standstill in mid-March.

The Tokyo Marathon went ahead on March 1 with elite runners only, London was postponed to Oct. 4 from April 26 and Berlin organisers said the race will not got ahead in September but did not specify if it would be postponed or cancelled altogether.

The Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon have not announced any changes to hold their events in October and November, respectively.

The 2021 Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 19. (Reuters)

(Production: David Grip)

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.

PH gov’t to roll out COVID-19 vaccination program starting February 15 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing to roll out its COVID-19 vaccination program starting February 15, Malacañang announced.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said among the first to receive the vaccines are healthcare workers from hospitals that serve as main COVID-19 referral facilities including the Philippine General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital in Metro Manila.

The incoming initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech totaling 117,000 doses will be used for the inoculation of healthcare workers included in the initial master list from hospitals, he added.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine supply under the COVAX facility is expected to arrive in the second or third week of February.

The government aims to complete the administration of vaccines to healthcare workers in less than a month.

“So, inaasahan po natin na sa buong linggong ito, sa buong buwan na darating ay at least lahat iyong medical frontliners at saka iyong immediate na may priority ay at least nasimulan na. Pero definitely, hindi po aabot ng isang buwan para matapos natin ang lahat ng mga medical frontliners,” Roque said.

The government is aiming to vaccinate up to 70 million people against COVID-19 this year, with priority given to healthcare workers, senior citizens, the indigent population, and uniformed personnel. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

QC gov’t bans public gatherings during fiestas, other community events

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines Public gatherings and other community celebrations will be prohibited in Quezon City, the local government announced.

In a memorandum dated Jan. 12, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the move aims to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in anticipation of upcoming fiestas, religious events, and cultural festivals traditionally held in many barangays in the city this month.

“Unless regulated, these celebrations could lead to mass gatherings and encourage the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Belmonte said.

“Isakripisyo muna natin ang mga nakaugalian tuwing may ganitong pagdiriwang para na rin sa ating kaligtasan,” she added.

In her order, Belmonte prohibited the conduct of processions, parades, Santacruzan and other crowd-drawing activities and events like fairs, perya, variety shows, fireworks displays, ati-atihan or other public performances.

Public games and contests, such as pageants, singing or band contests, bingo, pabitin, paluan ng palayok, agawan, or tug of war are also banned.

Public buffets and boodle fights, and public drinking, including drinking outdoors or on sidewalks, and group contact sports such as basketball are also not allowed.

“Persons may only drink at home or inside restaurants or establishments, subject to health protocols,” Belmonte said.

Also banned are group videoke or other celebratory gatherings that violate social distancing, noise pollution or other noise nuisances due to excessive merrymaking, comingling of multiple households through large parties or traditional “open door” fiesta celebrations; and any other non-essential or non-work gatherings.

On the other hand, modest celebrations conducted within the home, among immediate family or close acquaintances are allowed, subject to social distancing and other applicable health protocols.

Also, masses, other religious solemnities, religious or traditional rituals for the purpose of blessing a building or establishment may continue, subject to strict health protocols such the wearing of face mask, face shields and social distancing.

Celebrations conducted primarily for an online audience, with very limited physical attendance are also allowed.

As for the coming celebration of Chinese New Year, Belmonte said the conduct of Dragon Dance or Lion Dance activities shall be allowed provided that the same shall be held in a designated area only, like the stage of a mall, with the audience seated and socially distanced, with mask and face shield.

Violators may be penalized under Republic Act No. 11332 or the Notifiable Diseases Act, various city ordinances and other pertinent laws, the city government said.

The city’s law and order cluster, regulatory departments, barangays, and the Quezon City Police District are ordered to strictly enforce the memorandum, it added.

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