COVID-19 cases in Philippines rise to 64 with 12 new patients

UNTV News   •   March 13, 2020   •   1459

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed 12 more cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), increasing the total number of infections in the country to 64.

The DOH has yet to release the details of new positive cases, as of posting time.

The department added it has deployed surveillance teams, with the help of concerned local government units, to conduct extensive gathering of information and tracing all those who had contact with the new patients.

The DOH also called on the public to help the government in the contact tracing activities by reporting information to its designated hotline.

“We continually ask the public to cooperate and help us in the investigation and contact tracing activities. Please contact DOH and call the designated hotline at (02) 8-651-7800 loc 1149-1150 for any new leads,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

He also urged those who have been confirmed to have contracted the virus to let the government assist them in fighting the disease.

“For those who are confirmed cases, please let our hospitals take care of you. Studies show that chances of recovery are high. Let us take it upon ourselves to protect our family and our community’s health and well-being,” Duque said.

Available data on COVID-19 show that elderly people, average of 66 years in age, and those with underlying medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, and immunosuppression are vulnerable to the disease.

“We further urge those who are immunocompromised and are with existing health conditions to be more vigilant and avoid crowded areas and mass gatherings,” the health chief said.

Duque also reminded the public to keep calm and stop hoarding basic commodities as denying others access to such necessities only adds to the problem at hand.

“I also implore everyone to please stop hoarding basic commodities, particularly hygiene and sanitation products. It does not help us fight off COVID-19. Realize that when you hoard, you are being part of the problem by denying the rest of your fellowmen the means to protect themselves,” he said.

The Philippines is currently under a state of public health emergency following the hoisting of Code Red Sub-level 2 due to growing coronavirus infections, particularly in Metro Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila under a 30-day community quarantine to combat the spread of the virus which will start from March 15 to April 14.

During the quarantine period, land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila are suspended.

Work in the executive branch and classes in all levels in Metro Manila are also suspended.

Mall and shop owners are urged to continue operations. The delivery of goods and services will also be allowed as long as it follows regulations.

Private companies, however, are encouraged to implement a flexible work arrangement or a work from home set up for the meantime to protect their employees.

Duterte said all these measures are subject to daily review depending on the situation.

Authorities have stressed that movement of residents in Metro Manila will not be restricted but everyone should cooperate and obey the rules to help stop the contagion.

“The decision to implement a community quarantine was made in the best interest of the public. I enjoin everyone—young and old—to cooperate fully with our government. Together, we can contain COVID-19,” Duque said.

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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