China decries travel, visa restrictions in global fight against novel coronavirus

UNTV News   •   February 4, 2020   •   674

China on Monday (February 3) denounced at a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting measures by “some countries” that have denied entry to people holding passports issued in Hubei province — the center of the new coronavirus outbreak — and to deny visas and cancel flights.

“All these measures are seriously against recommendation by the WHO,” said Li Song, who is China’s ambassador for disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva, during a WHO Executive Board meeting.

China’s regular Executive Board representative was unable to attend after her flight from Beijing was cancelled, Chinese diplomats told reporters on Friday (January 31).

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier on Monday there was no need for measures that “unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade” in trying to halt the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 361 people in China.

China is facing increasing international isolation due to restrictions on flights to and from the country, and bans on travellers from China.

U.S. ambassador Andrew Bremberg said that the outbreak in two dozen countries required focused attention.

“We express our support, prayers, sympathy, and appreciation to the people of China and especially the health responders on the front lines, who are protecting not only their communities, but the world,” Bremberg said.

There have been 17,238 confirmed infections in China including 361 deaths, as well as 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries and 1 death which was reported from the Philippines on Sunday, Tedros said. (Reuters)

(Production: Marina Depetris, Ardee Napolitano)

WHO reiterates need to address vaccine inequity to end COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 15, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) continues its call to address vaccine inequity in hopes to end the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his speech on Tuesday evening (September 14), lamented that of the more than 5.7 billion doses that have been administered globally, only less than 2% have been administered in Africa.

He said that Africa has been left behind when it comes to vaccine rollout.

“There are countries with less than two percent vaccination coverage, most of them in Africa, who are not even getting their first and second dose,” Tedros said.

Dr. Tedros said the lack of vaccines in Africa has a global impact that should be addressed.

“The longer vaccine inequity persists, the more the virus will keep circulating and changing, the longer the social and economic disruption will continue, and the higher the chances that more variants will emerge that render vaccines less effective,” he said.

The WHO calls on vaccine manufacturers to prioritize COVAX and the African COVID-19 Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVAT). It also calls on countries that have already achieved high coverage levels to swap their near-term vaccine deliveries with COVAX and AVAT.

The organization’s global targets are to support every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year, and 70% of the world’s population by the middle of next year. AAC

WHO exec cautions against easing COVID-19 restrictions in NCR

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — An official of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday cautioned the Philippine government against relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in Metro Manila amid the continuing spike in coronavirus infections.

Metro Manila is set to pilot a new quarantine alert levels system, placing the region under Alert Level 4 starting Sept. 16. The policy aims to make use of granular lockdowns and a 5-step system, which the government hopes will spur business activities.

Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO’s representative to the Philippines, said local authorities should be cautious in relaxing COVID-19 curbs in Metro Manila as this could overwhelm the healthcare capacity.

“Make sure that those restrictions are followed, that we don’t relax too much because we are not in a position where we can relax and experience further worsening of this transmission level because our health systems are just holding up,” he said in a televised briefing.

The latest government data on COVID-19 cases showed that 77 percent of 4,200 ICU beds nationwide are occupied.

Around 69 percent of 20,800 isolation beds in the country are also in use while 74 percent of 16,000 ward beds are occupied.

Data also showed that 57 percent of the more than 3,200 ventilators in the country are being utilized.

In the National Capital Region, 79 percent of the total 1,400 ICU beds are occupied.

Around 65 percent of the 4,500 isolation beds are in use while 74 percent of the 4,500 ward beds are being utilized.

Of the total 1,200 ventilators in the capital region, 62 percent are being used.

The Department of Health earlier said that the country’s COVID-19 classification remains at high risk.

“If there is a further increase in the current transmission level, it could lead to an overwhelming of the hospital systems. That’s why we need to be very careful in recalibrating how we respond to the current situation,” Abeyasinghe said.

While he acknowledged the Philippines’ increasing vaccination rate, Abeyasinghe said this is still not enough to ease restriction.

The alert levels system in Metro Manila will only allow outdoor dining at 30 percent venue capacity, and indoor dining for small groups of people who are fully immunized against COVID-19.

Religious gatherings and personal care services will also be allowed at 30 percent.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed, but only limited to immediate family members.

Under Alert Level 4, the following are prohibited from going outside their residence:

  • Persons below 18 years old
  • Persons over 65 years old
  • Those with immunodeficiencies, co-morbidities, or other health risks
  • Pregnant women

Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes when accessing essential goods and services or going to work in permitted industries and offices.

Pagbibigay ng COVID-19 booster shots sa health workers, hindi pa napapanahon – WHO

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nasa 96 porsiyento na sa hanay ng A1 o healthcare sector ang nababakunahan kontra COVID-19 at maaaring makumpleto na sa susunod na buwan ang target inoculation sa grupo.

 Ngunit para sa World Health Organization (WHO), hindi pa napapanahon ang pagbibigay ng COVID-19 booster shots sa healthcare workers sa gitna ng lumulobong kaso ng coronavirus infections.

Ayon kay WHO country representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, maaari lamang umpisahan ang pagbibigay ng booster shots kung nasa 40 porsiyento na ng populasyon ng bansa ang nababakunahan na kontra COVID-19.

Kailangan ring unahin ang pagbibigay ng booster shot sa mga immunocompromised individuals.

“Among health workers also there could be immunocompromised individuals, and there may be a need for those individuals to receive booster shots. But universal administration of booster shots, even for health workers at this point in time, WHO does not have a recommendation to support that,” ani Abeyasinghe.

Una nang sinabi ni vaccine czar Carlito Galvez na posibleng mabigyan ng booster shot ang health workers dahil lumipas na ang anim na buwan mula nang makumpleto ang kanilang COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Sa ngayon ay nasa 17 milyon pa lang sa 110 milyong indibidwal na kabilang sa priority sectors ang fully vaccinated sa bansa.

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