Brazilians scramble to board last U.S. flights ahead of travel ban

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020   •   331

Brazilians scrambled Monday (May 25) to make last-minute arrangements to get to the United States ahead of new restrictions on travel from Brazil.

A handful of passengers were seen at Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport preparing to board a United Flight to Houston Monday after the U.S. government brought the restrictions forward by two days as the number of deaths from the new coronavirus in the South American nation surpassed the U.S. daily toll.

A White House statement amended the timing of the start of the restrictions to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, May 26 (0359 GMT on Wednesday, May 27) instead of May 28 as in the original announcement on Sunday (May 24).

Two days earlier, Brazil overtook Russia as the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot after the United States. Washington’s ban applies to foreigners traveling to the United States if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks.

Brazil’s coronavirus deaths reported in the last 24 hours were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time on Monday, according to the health ministry. Brazil registered 807 deaths and 620 died in the United States.

Brazil has 374,898 cases, behind the U.S. with 1.637 million. Total deaths in the U.S. has reached 97,988, according to Reuters tally, compared with Brazil at 23,473.

The travel ban was a blow to right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has followed the example of U.S. President Donald Trump in addressing the pandemic, fighting calls for social distancing and touting unproven drugs. (Reuters)

(Production: Leonardo Benassatto)

Navotas to undergo 14-day lockdown due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Navotas City will be placed under a 14-day lockdown due to the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco confirmed what has been floating on social media regarding the lockdown, although he added that he is still yet to sign the directive.

Based on the report of City Health officials on Sunday (July 12), there are 931 confirmed cases in the city.

Tiangco lamented that despite the rising cases, residents continue to leave their houses irresponsibly. He also said that several children are playing outside without wearing face masks.

Barangay NBBS Dagat-dagatan has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.

Barangay Chairperson Zenaida Tibulan said most of the residents thought there is less danger when community quarantine eased.

Lahat halos lumalabas na noong nagkaroon ng GCQ parang pakiramdam nila natapos na ang problema. Sobra lang mahirap talaga para masasabi nating ma-control ang mga tao at mga bata na lumabas (Almost everyone went outside when GCQ was implemented, they thought the problem is over. It is really difficult to control residents and children not to leave their houses),” she said.

Mayor Tiangco said he is still waiting for the augmentation force he requested from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to begin the implementation of the lockdown in the city. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento).

Phl Red Cross opens convalescent plasma center in Manila to help fight COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday said it has opened its convalescent plasma center in the Philippine capital to help in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The PRC said its convalescent plasma bank was opened at its National Blood Center in Port Area and has started operations Monday.

In a statement, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the facility aims to help COVID-19 patients after some medical experts attested to the therapy’s effectiveness.

“Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID,” he said as he noted that 9 out 10 patients who underwent the therapy have recovered from the disease.

Convalescent plasma therapy involves the extraction of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to be transfused to a patient who is still battling the disease. Blood plasma is expected to contain antibodies which will help recipients fight off the infection.

Gordon said the center is open for COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma to the PRC.

COVID-19 survivors between the ages of 18 and 65 would have to undergo physical and medical to see if they are qualified to donate blood plasma.

To date, the Philippines has recorded a total of 57,006 COVID-19 cases. Of these patients, 20,371 have recovered while 1,599 died from the disease.

Olympics must go ahead next year as symbol of overcoming COVID-19, Tokyo governor says

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.

The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.

“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.

Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

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