COVID-19 cases in Navotas City most probably due to ‘asymptomatic’ transmission — LGU

Marje Pelayo   •   July 6, 2020   •   275

NAVOTAS CITY, Philippines — Confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Navotas City have reached a total of 676 with 38 fresh cases on Sunday (July 6), the highest recorded in a single day. 

To date, the city has 335 active cases, 287 recoveries and 54 deaths.

The barangay with the highest number of infection is Barangay NBBS Dagat-Dagatan with 50 confirmed cases, including six staff.

This prompted the local government to place the barangay hall under lockdown until July 18. 

It covers all residential units within the 50-meter zone. 

Only essential workers like those working at Navotas Fish Port are allowed to go out.

According to Mayor Toby Tianco, 85 percent of the positive cases in the city were asymptomatic or not showing any physical indications of the infection.

“Wala silang sipon, wala silang ubo, wala silang lagnat, hindi sila nahihirapang huminga, (No colds, no cough, no fever, no difficulty breathing),” noted Mayor Tiangco. 

“Iyan ang problema sa COVID-19 kaya’t madami tayo ng mga kaso na magkakapamilya o magkakasama sa trabaho (That’s the problem with COVID-19 which resulted in more cases of transmission among family members or co-workers),” he said. 

To date, the city hall has administered more than 6,000 swab tests. 

Tiangco advises his constituents to strictly refrain from visiting family or friends for now, especially if there are senior citizens or individuals who are immunocompromised as they are the ones vulnerable to the infection. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

FDA reiterates COVID-19 vaccination non-mandatory

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reiterated that vaccination will not be mandatory once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available in the country.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo said the national government will prioritize the poor in the immunization campaign. The government aims to vaccinate 60 million to 70 million Filipinos in order to reach herd immunity against the virus.

Domingo also reminded the public that minimum health standards should still be practiced even after the availability of a vaccine. He also said that the agency, along with the Department of Health (DOH), is already planning the process for the COVID-19 immunization program. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Local airlines to increase number of flights this holiday season

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Local airlines are preparing to add more flights as more passengers are expected to travel this holiday season just as quarantine restrictions ease.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said the easing of quarantine restrictions can help the airline industry recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“The good news is the Balikbayan Program. This is the easing of travel requirements for balikbayans to entice them to return to the Philippines,” she said.

Villaluna said they are also coordinating with local government units to make sure the minimum health standards are still being implemented.

Local airlines have already partnered with private laboratories for more affordable and faster swab testing of passengers. For PAL and Air Asia, the RT-PCR testing in their accredited diagnostic lab costs P4,000.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific launched a “test before boarding” policy which requires passengers to undergo an antigen testing before boarding. The testing in Cebu Pacific is free from December 3 to December 14 but it is only exclusive to passengers en route to General Santos City.

“This is an initiative where we are closely working with the LGU in coming up with this process wherein passengers are required to take an antigen test no more than five hours before their departure time and then the results will come out in 30 minutes,” according to Candice Iyog, vice president for Marketing and Customer Experience of Cebu Pacific.

Local airlines advise passengers to refer to their respective websites for the essential requirements before boarding their flights. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Duterte to attend virtual UN General Assembly on COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is set to participate in the 31st Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic from December 3 to 4, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Palace said Duterte is expected to deliver the Philippine Statement on December 3, where he will further amplify his call for global solidarity in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The president is also expected to raise universal access to the anti-COVID-19 technologies, as well as the need for global efforts to ensure the availability of safe and effective vaccines to peoples of developing nations.

During the 75th UNGA session last September, Duterte also said that COVID-19 vaccines “must not be denied nor withheld,” and that “it should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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