Davao City not a new epicenter for COVID-19 amid case surge – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021   •   314

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that the term “epicenter” should not be used to describe Davao City amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH discourages the use of the term in describing the rise of cases in a certain area as epidemic epicenters are “interpreted by some to refer to an area as the source of the infection.”

“It is also meant to connote the area as a hotspot for the infection. We discourage the use of the term ‘epicenter’ in describing the rise of cases in an area,” Vergeire said in a statement.

“These areas are not the origin of the COVID-19 virus. Moreover, using the term ‘epicenter’ detracts from other surrounding areas which may be equally or more affected by COVID-19,” she added.

“Considering this, no, Davao City is not an epicenter,” she further stated.

The DOH issued the statement after a fellow from the OCTA Research Group said Davao City has surpassed Quezon City in terms of having the highest average of daily fresh COVID-19 cases. OCTA noted that Davao City recorded an average of 213 new COVID-19 cases, higher than the 207 cases from Quezon City.

Davao City is currently under modified enhanced community quarantine due to rising coronavirus infections in the area.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation in Davao City due to increasing cases,” the DOH said.

Public urged to be more responsible when visiting leisure areas amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday reiterated its call on the public to be more responsible when visiting public and leisure areas amid the enforcement of COVID-19 Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila.

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar made the appeal following reports of individuals ignoring public health protocols while visiting the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach.

“Paulit-ulit ang ating paalala sa publiko na mahigpit na sumunod sa minimum health standards lalo na kung nasa pampublikong lugar o pasyalan gaya ng Dolomite Beach,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Nauunawaan ko ang kagustuhan ng ating mga kababayan na makalabas ng kanilang mga tahanan, subalit kung hindi tayo mag-iingat ay hindi malabong tumaas na naman ang kaso ng COVID-19 at mapilitan na naman ang gobyerno na maghigpit sa mga protocols,” he added.

The PNP chief said he has tasked concerned police offices and units to deply enough personnel to public areas to help the marshals in implementing safety standards and controlling the crowd.

“Inatasan ko na ang ating unit commanders na siguraduhin na sapat ang bilang ng ating kapulisan sa mga pampublikong lugar upang matiyak ang pagsunod sa minimum public health safety na siya din namang ipinapakiusap sa ating ng Department of Health,” Eleazar said.

He, however, reminded police officers to observe maximum tolerance, especially to those who will be caught violating the protocols.

The national government downgraded Metro Manila’s alert status to Level 3 amid the decrease in COVID-19 infections. This will be in effect until the end of October.

Under Alert Level 3, several establishments are allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals, and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Delta Plus sub-variant not yet detected in the Philippines – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Delta Plus sublineage (AY.4.2) of COVID-19 Delta variant (B.1.617.2) has not yet been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In a statement, the DOH said its biosurveillance activities has been closely monitoring 46 sublineages of the Delta variant, and so far has not detected the AY.4.2 sub-variant.

The DOH issued the statement following reports on the increasing case of sublinage AY.4.2 in the United Kingdom (UK) and its detection in other countries.

“As of this moment, experts are still studying the potential impact of the Delta sublineage on the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19. The particular Delta sublineage has not yet been detected among the COVID-19 positive samples sequenced in the country,” the department said.

Delta variant has been listed by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern but its subtypes are not.

Health experts in the UK have earlier reported that the AY.4.2 may be 10% more transmissible than its parent variant.

The Delta Plus subtype is a mutation of the original Delta variant. Its behavior, severity, and transmission frequency are still being monitored.

But whatever the variant that may appear, the DOH stressed that mutations occur as part of the natural process of virus evolution.

It reminded the public to be vigilant and continue adhering to health protocols, adding that all COVID-19 cases should be managed similarly and as per current quarantine protocols.

“Each case must be immediately isolated and contact traced upon detection. Current evidence also showed that the presence or absence of a variant of interest or concern among cases do not dictate the appropriate clinical management,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire.

“We should always remain vigilant against COVID-19, moreso that we are safely reopening our economy,” she added.

The DOH also reminded the public that, while variants may contribute to increase or aggravate COVID-19 cases, strict and proper adherence to the minimum public health standards reduces the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19.

It also reiterated its call on the public to get vaccinated for additional protection against COVID-19.

“Our proper adherence to the minimum public health standards is still our best protection and is the best way to curb the transmission, prevent the spread of the variants and slow down the appearance of mutations,” Vergeire said.

“Getting fully-vaccinated is also another layer of protection that can help us from getting severe COVID-19,” she added.

Delta Plus sub-variant na nasa 27 bansa, 10% umanong mas nakakahawa kaysa original variant ayon sa ilang eksperto

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Mahigpit ngayong binabantayan ng health experts ang bagong klase ng Delta variant na AY.4.2 o ang tinatawag na Delta Plus.

Naitala ang variant na ito sa 27 bansa, kabilang na ang United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, Romania, Poland, Ireland, Denmark, at ilang bahagi ng Western Europe.

Hindi pa kasama sa ngayon ang Delta Plus sub-variant sa listahan ng variant of concern o variant of interest ng World Health Organization (WHO).

Pero babala ng mga eksperto, malaki ang posibilidad na mas nakakahawa ito kaysa sa orihinal na Delta variant dahil mayroon itong dalawang mutations sa spike genome.

Ibig sabihin, branch na ng Delta variant ang Delta Plus sub-variant at dalawang beses pa itong nag-mutate.

Sinasabing ang Delta Plus sub-variant ang isa sa mga dahilan ng muling pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa United Kingdom.

Sa ulat ng United Kingdom Health Security Agency, nakita ang lumalawak na kaso ng Delta Plus sub-variant sa England.

Sinasabi rin ng mga eksperto roon na 10 porsiyento itong mas nakakahawa kumpara sa parent variant nito na Delta variant (B.1.617.2).

Upang mapigilan ang posibleng pagpasok ng naturang sub-variant sa Pilipinas, sinabi ng mga otoridad na kailangan pang paigtingin ang border control.

Kailangan rin anilang matiyak na tuluyan nang mapuputol ang hawaan ng Delta variant sa bansa dahil lalong nagmu-mutate ang virus kapag patuloy na dumadami ang nahahawa nito.

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