DILG orders Metro Manila LGUs to activate task force to curb COVID-19 spread

Robie de Guzman   •   March 9, 2020   •   721

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday ordered local government units (LGU) in the National Capital Region (NCR) to activate their respective task forces to help in monitoring and stopping the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the communities.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the directive following the declaration of Code Red sublevel 1 by the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday after confirming that the sixth patient, the wife of the previously reported fifth case in San Juan City, is the country’s first case of local transmission of the virus.

The Code Red sublevel 1 alert is issued when a local transmission is recorded.

“Local transmissions pose greater chances for the virus to spread and that’s the last thing we want to happen. Kaya naman inaatasan ko ang mga LGU ng NCR to activate their LCTF o Local COVID-19 Task Force to prevent the situation from escalating,” Año said in a statement.

He added that local COVID-19 task forces in NCR “must work double time to ensure that further spread of the virus will be halted.”

Año said the task force shall direct the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Local City Health Office, upon receiving the referrals from the DOH-Emergency Operations Center, to coordinate directly with, and transport, the symptomatic persons to the nearest DOH referral facility for testing.

The symptomatic persons will immediately undergo triage which will determine if the person is a severe case or a mild case.

If the patient is found to be a mild case, the ambulance will be directed to bring the patient confirmed as Persons under Investigation (PUIs) to the nearest DOH-designated hospital for treatment. If found to be a severe case, the patient will be put on isolation or will be admitted to a medical facility.

“The LCTF shall always be on top of all related situations and concerns, and coordinate closely with the DOH-Center for Health Development,” Año said.

All DILG city directors are likewise directed to coordinate with their local chief executives, which will work closely with the DOH regional office.

“It is only through cooperation and vigilance can we guarantee that this virus will not be a greater threat in our country kaya inaasahan ang patuloy na pakikipagtulungan ng lahat ng LGU sa iba pang sangay ng pamahalaan lalo na sa DOH,” the DILG chief said.

Año also reported that 25,411 barangays in the country have already organized their Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) which can aid in controlling further community transmissions of the virus.

The team is comprised of an executive officer, a barangay tanod, and two barangay health workers, one of them a nurse or a midwife, as appointed by the Punong Barangay.

Part of its responsibility is to monitor the community through home visitation of arriving passengers from a coronavirus-infected country within the locality, ensuring that all residents are accounted for.

The Philippines currently has 10 COVID-19 cases.

Worldwide, the virus has killed 3,639 people with 106,893 confirmed cases in 103 countries, according to World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard data.

Sen. Dela Rosa discharged from hospital after battling with COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has been discharged from the hospital after a bout with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), his office said Friday.

In a message to reporters, his office said Dela Rosa will continue taking his medicines at home and will be placed under home quarantine as advised by his doctors.

His staff on Thursday said Dela Rosa was admitted to the hospital on Nov. 23 after developing fever, cough, and colds so that he could be monitored better, and that his condition is already improving.

The former Philippine National Police chief confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 21, after the Senate wrapped up the period of debates for the proposed 2021 budget.

Dela Rosa said he and three other members of his household contracted the virus.

Dela Rosa was the fifth senator to be infected with COVID-19 this year. His colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senators Sonny Angara, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla all recovered from the viral respiratory disease. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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Gov’t to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine procurement for early vaccine distribution—Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine procurement for early vaccine distribution, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the President has issued Executive Order (EO) No. 121 granting an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

Based on the Executive Order, the President will grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to provide  Emergency Use Authorization for medicines for the treatment of COVID-19.

“Kung magkakaroon ng emergency use utilization, ang mga rehistrado sa mga foreign FDA na mga bakuna, mapapabilis po ang pag-issue ng authority to use it under EUA to 21 days. Normally po kung wala itong Executive Order na ito it will take as long as six months,” Roque said.

The Palace official added that the EUA will be good for the country as it will pave the way for ending the pandemic and the return to normalcy. AAC

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25 BPO employees tested positive for COVID-19 after holding two parties

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2020

Twenty-five Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) employees in Subic tested positive for COVID-19 after holding two parties in November.

According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Health and Safety Department Dr. Solomon Jacalne, out of the 65 employees of a BPO company that attended the two parties, 25 of them are currently under quarantine.

“Contact tracing indicated that the employees who tested positive of Covid-19 either attended the parties or were exposed to co-workers who went to the said social gatherings,” he said.

Jacalne said the employees attended a beach party in Olonggapo City and a pool party in Zambales. He also said several of the workers did not accurately declare their health condition which might also have contributed to the surge of COVID-19 cases.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the surge in cases would have been avoided if the employees followed the minimum health protocols.

“This was the lesson some employees of a business process outsourcing company here recently learned the hard way after attending parties that might have served as super-spreading events,” she added.

Eisma said the agency will conduct an investigation on the incident and will implement additional safety measures in work areas of the concerned company. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

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