DOH: 116 more Delta COVID-19 variant cases detected in PH, total now at 331

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2021   •   483

MANILA, Philippines – More cases of the highly infectious variants of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In an update, the DOH said that 116 more cases of the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, which was first reported in India, have been recorded in the country based on the report of the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH).

This brings the total Delta variant cases to 331, the agency said.

Of the additional 116 Delta variant cases detected, the DOH said that 95 are local cases, one is a returning overseas Filipino (ROF), and 20 cases are currently being verified if these are local or ROF cases.

Of the 95 local cases, 83 cases had an indicated address in the National Capital Region, while three had indicated addresses in CALABARZON, four in Central Visayas, two in Davao Region, and one each in Zamboanga Peninsula, Cagayan Valley, and Ilocos Region. All cases have been tagged as recovered.

“All other information is being validated by our regional and local health offices,” the DOH said.

There was also a duplicate case among the 216 total tally of Delta variant cases as of July 29, according to the DOH, correcting the tally back then to 215.

Health authorities also reported the detection of 113 Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant cases, 122 Beta (B.1.351) variant cases, and 10 P.3 variant cases in the latest batch of whole genome sequencing.

Of the additional 113 Alpha variant cases detected, 104 were local cases, one ROF, and eight are currently being verified if they are a local or ROF case.

Based on the case line list, two cases have died and 111 cases have been tagged as recovered.

Apart from this, an Alpha variant case tested from one laboratory had 2 samples that were both sequenced. With this, the total Alpha variant case as of July 29 is updated from 1,856 to 1,855.

This brings the total Alpha variant cases to 1,968.

The Alpha variant was first reported in the United Kingdom.

Of the additional 122 Beta variant cases, 104 were local cases, four ROFs, and 14 cases are currently being verified if they are local or ROF cases.

All cases have been tagged as recovered.

The total Beta variant cases are now at 2,268.

The Beta variant was first detected in South Africa

Meanwhile, of the 10 additional P.3 variant cases detected, nine were local cases and one was an ROF. All cases have been tagged as recovered.

“DOH would like to reiterate that these cases detected with the variants of concern are already COVID-19 positive, hence, clinical management and response remain the same,” the agency said.

The DOH also said that while community transmission of the Delta variant is being studied, the national government together with LGUs should act aggressively as if there is already community transmission.

Due to the imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine on the National Capital Region (NCR), the DOH urged the public to continue practicing the minimum public health standards at all times to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Everyone is also reminded to ensure there is good ventilation whenever indoors by opening windows and doors,” it said.

“Moreover, the DOH reiterated to the public to avail of the free vaccination program if they are eligible, register with your local government,” it added.

The NCR will be placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20.

PH FDA approves COVID-19 vaccine booster jabs for general adult population

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday announced it has approved the administration of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for the general adult population.

FDA director general Eric Domingo said the booster shots will be administered to all adults aged 18 years old and above, based on the assessment of benefit and risks

Domingo said the same brands and combinations like those recommended for health workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised individuals will be applied to booster doses for the general adult population.

The FDA earlier said that vaccine brands Pfizer, AstraZeneca, SInovac, Moderna, and Sputnik V will be used as booster shots.

The guidelines on the distribution and use of booster shots will be released by the Department of Health.

“Sisimulan na rin natin, lumabas na yung EUA Amendment mula sa FDA. Nilagdaan na po ni director general Eric Domingo yung advisory na ito… Anytime this week,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The government has started giving booster shots to health workers, senior citizens, and select immunocompromised individuals in November.

COVID-19 variant Omicron not yet detected in Philippines – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Newly-discovered COVID-19 variant Omicron has not yet been detected in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said following reports about travelers from South Africa who are being quarantined in Negros Occidental.

“We are getting details on these travellers, we will provide info as soon. Just to be clear, no detection yet of Omicron, we are still processing next batch of whole genome sequences,” DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a statement.

The three foreign nationals arrived in Negros Occidental last November 26.

They are currently being quarantined in Manapla, Calatrava, and La Carlota City.

Local authorities said the foreign travelers arrived in the country on November 25 before the national government placed South Africa under the Red List due to the Omicron variant.

They have also been issued with Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-Pass) in Makati and have passed the approval of the Bureau of Quarantine in Manila.

The provincial government said the three are fully vaccinated and tested negative based on their RT-PCR test results. They will undergo re-swabbing while under quarantine.

Local officials have assured the public that the travelers are being monitored and that they will continue to intensify their measures against COVID-19.

Google to pause election ads during 2022 polls in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Google on Wednesday announced it will not accept election ads in the Philippines during the election campaign and silence periods for the 2022 national and local elections.

In a statement, Google said the policy will apply to election advertisements in the Philippines that are purchased through Google ads, Display and Video 360, and shopping platforms that advertisers intend to place on Google, YouTube, and partner properties.

This also includes advertisements that promote or oppose any political party or the candidacy of any person or party for public office, the tech giant added.

Based on the calendar of activities released by the Commission on Elections, the official campaign period for national candidates will start on February 8, and on March 25 for local candidates.

“Google is focusing its efforts and resources on upcoming election-related initiatives, which aim to help people access, useful and accurate information via product features and media literacy program, encourage participation in the voting process and help protect the integrity of the elections,” the tech giant said.

Under the rules and regulations of the Fair Elections Act for the 2022 elections, political advertisements or election propaganda refer to any matter broadcasted, published, printed, displayed or exhibited, in any medium, which contains the name, logo, brand, insignia and other symbol or graphic representation that is capable of being associated with a candidate, and is exclusively intended to draw the attention of the public or a segment thereof to promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, the election of said candidates to a public office.

Political advertising includes endorsements, statements, declaration, or information graphics, appearing on any internet website, social network, blogging site, and micro blogging site, which – when taken as a whole – has for its principal object the endorsement of a candidate only, or which were posted in return for consideration or are otherwise capable of pecuniary estimation.

Earlier this year, Google launched a #MagparehistroKa campaign with COMELEC and other partners.

It also hosted a website on Google Cloud to support voter registration campaigns.

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