DOH bans use of vapes, e-cigarettes in public places

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2019   •   2565

FILE PHOTO: Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has banned the use of vapes and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in public places.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on June 14 signed the Administrative Order (AO) 2009-0007 which prohibits the use of vapes (vaporizers) and e-cigarettes, as well as tasking local government units to apprehend violators.

The order imposes penalties on violators, depending on local ordinances enforced by the town or city where the smoker was apprehended.

The signing of the AO comes two years after President Rodrigo Duterte issued the Executive Order 25 which bans cigarette smoking in public and limits it to designated smoking areas.

This order will expand the smoking ban in public places to include vapes and e-cigarettes. Manufacturing, distribution and sale of vapes and related items will also be regulated.

The move follows the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to regulate or ban the use of e-cigarettes and related products once it is proven that these also contain cancer-causing chemicals that are found in traditional cigarettes.

“We need to regulate this. We need to make sure that the nicotine delivery system as well as the electronic non-nicotine system kasama iyong e-cig, mga vapes at ng lahat ng mga ito will be subject to regulatory control,” Duque told reporters in an interview during the relaunching of DOH’s school-based immunization program on Wednesday.

The DOH said the AO is seen to take effect next month after it is published in a national publication. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Duque: Pagbubukas ng klase sa Agosto, ligtas basta’t matitiyak ang minimum health standards

Robie de Guzman   •   May 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala si Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III na ligtas ang pagbubukas ng klase sa Agosto 24 basta’t maipatutupad ang kinakailangang minimum health standards sa mga paaralan.

Inihayag ni Duque ang kanyang opinyon nang hingan siya ng pahayag ni Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go sa isinagawang virtual hearing ng Senate Committee on Health and Demography ngayong Martes.

“Pag-aralan po namin maigi ito pero sa tingin po namin, ligtas naman po kung bubuksan natin ang klase by August 24. Ang kinakailangan po rito, siguraduhin lamang na ang lahat ng ating minimum standards for health ay nakatalaga,” ani Duque.

Kabilang aniya sa minimum health standards na kailangang masunod ay ang pagkakaroon ng physical distancing, palagiang paghuhugas at pagdi-disinfect ng mga kamay at pagkakaroon ng thermal scanner upang ma-check kung mataas ang temperatura ng katawan ng isang tao.

“Tingin ko magiging ligtas naman po ang pagbubukas ng ating pong mga paaralan at meron din po tayong evidence-based na atin pong titingnan gaya ng ginagawa po ng IATF,” ani Duque.

“We will continue to evaluate yung mga bilang ng mga kaso down to the barangay levels,” dagdag pa niya.

Una nang sinabi ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kanyang public address noong Lunes ng gabi na hindi siya papayag na muling magbalik-eskwela ang mga mag-aaral hangga’t walang natutuklasang bakuna kontra novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Sa paglilinaw naman ng Malakanyang ngayong Martes, ang pagkakaroon ng face-to-face o physical classes in classroom ang tinutulan ng Pangulo at tuloy pa rin naman ang pagbubukas ng academic schoolyear 2020-2021 sa Agosto.

Kung mananatili pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19 bandang Agosto, ipatutupad naman ng pamahalaan ang flexible blended learning sa lahat ng antas.

Kabilang sa paraang ito ang paggamit ng telebisyon at radyo upang maipagpatuloy ang edukasyon ng mga mag-aaral, lalo na sa mga nasa liblib na lugar at hindi maaabot ng internet.

“Kung hindi po talaga dumating ang new normal, at hindi mai-lift ang community quarantines, di po ibig sabihin na di na mag-aaral ang ating mga kabataan. Mayroon po tayong tinatawag na blended learning sangayon kay Sec. Briones ng DepEd, gagamitin po natin ang telebisyon, ang radio at ang internet para ipagpatuloy po ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan,” ani Roque.

Suportado naman ni Duque ang mga plano ng Department of Education (DepEd) upang maseguro ang kaligtasan at kalusugan ng mga mag-aaral.

Una nang sinabi ng DepEd na bukod sa pagsasagawa ng online classes, pinag-aaralan na rin nila sa ngayon ang iba’t ibang learning tools, work arrangement para sa mga guro at maging ang sistema ng assessment sa mga mag-aaral. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

No reports of COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers in the past 13 days – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reported a slowdown in the COVID-19 incidence among healthcare workers in the country since April 11.

To date, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers is at 2,369.

The number of recoveries is at 1,220 while medical professionals who succumbed to the disease tally at 31.

Nonetheless, the DOH is relieved that in the previous week, no healthcare worker contracted the virus.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, this development is evidence that chances of recovery from COVID-19 is high.

Likewise, no active cases of COVID-19 infection among healthcare workers remain in critical condition. 

Malaking tulong ang strict enforcement of infection prevention and control measures sa ating mga ospital sa pagsisiguro ng kaligtasan ng ating mga frontliners (Stirct enforcement of infection prevention and control measures in our hospitals helped a lot in ensuring the safety of our frontliners),” Vergeire said.

Healthcare workers are among the priority sectors in COVID-19 testing because of the nature of their job where the risk of infection is high. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Duque clarifies remark, says PH in ‘1st major wave of sustained transmission’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III has clarified that the country is currently experiencing its “first major wave of sustained transmission” of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Duque issued the clarification a day after he stated in a Senate hearing Wednesday that the Philippines is on its second wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Ikinorek ko na nga rin po ang aking sarili na this is the first major wave of a sustained community transmission,” the DOH chief said during a virtual meeting with the House committee on health where he was asked to explain his statement.

Duque, however, maintained that his statement during the Senate hearing was a “casual expression of an epidemiological fact.”

“Indeed, there was a first wave but very small which consisted of just three imported cases in January,” he said, referring to the country’s first three cases, all of whom are Chinese national who travelled from the pandemic’s source, China’s City of Wuhan.

“Then we had nothing for February, and then this was followed by a bigger wave which is now what we consider as first major wave of sustained community transmission,” he added.

“Ang mahalaga po rito, que ito po ay first o second wave, ay iangat natin ang kapasidad po ng ating system mentras napababa natin ang bilang ng mga bagong kaso kada araw,” he further stated.

Duque’s earlier remark triggered public confusion, and prompted Malacañang to clarify his claim.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the country is still in the first wave of infections and that Duque should have informed President Rodrigo Duterte about his interpretation of the COVID-19 data.

The DOH also apologized over the confusion that the Health chief’s statement had caused.

Dr. Beverly Ho, director of DOH Health Promotion and Communications Service, said the country is still on its first wave, at least the one driven by local community transmission.

“Kung matatandaan nyo po, local community transmission happened nung nagsimula po tayong mag-report ng cases ng mga kababayan natin na walang exposure sa mga positive cases o kaya walang travel history,” Ho said during a televised briefing.

The DOH in early March confirmed there was a presence of local transmission of the virus and became the basis for raising the alert level in the country.

Ho also reminded the public to continue observing physical distancing measures and health protocols, and maintain good hygiene to beat COVID-19.

As of May 21, the Philippines has recorded 13,434 confirmed coronavirus infections, with 846 fatalities and 3,000 recoveries. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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