DOH monitors child from Wuhan, China who manifested flu-like symptoms

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2020   •   1101

Medical staff transfer patients to Jinyintan hospital where patients infected with a new strain of Coronavirus identified as the cause of the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak are treated in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 20 January 2020. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it is monitoring the case of a five-year old boy with a history of travel to Wuhan, China for manifesting flu-like symptoms.

The child, who arrived in Cebu with his mother on January 12, was admitted in a hospital in Central Visayas after he manifested symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever, throat irritation and cough prior to entering the Philippines.

The DOH said the young boy is now in stable condition but still had cough.

Based on samples examined by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the unnamed child tested negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Both diseases are caused by a family of viruses called coronavirus.

But he tested positive for a non-specific pancoronavirus assay, meaning that he is infected with a strain of coronavirus. The sample has been sent to a laboratory in Australia for further testing.

The DOH said the child will remain “a person under investigation” until they could get confirmatory results.

The Bureau of Quarantine is carrying out tracing of air passengers who may have come in contact with the boy during transit.

“We are reminding the airlines that the universal protective kit should be available anytime on board, the passenger locator card, the protocol on handling cases on board and of course reporting of cases on board to the ground crew,” Bureau of Quarantine director, Dr. Ferdinand Salcedo said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said novel coronavirus causes respiratory infections which may develop into severe cases such as pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death if left untreated.

Coronavirus, which is a large group of viruses common among animals, may be transmitted through contact with an infected person.

“We are not sure of the source of the virus whether it came from animal or meat and other source. We believe that maybe human-to-human transmission,” WHO Country Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.

The DOH said they are also monitoring three other individuals who manifested flu-like symptoms upon their arrival at the Kalibo International Airport.

The agency said all three travelers, reportedly Chinese nationals, are currently well and are no longer exhibiting any symptoms.

All hospitals and medical facilities in the country have been alerted about cases of coronavirus.

The WHO said there are 222 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus – majority of them are from China while others were from Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

The new strain of coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

The DOH advised the public to always practice frequent handwashing, avoid crowded places and contact with infected person and to thoroughly cook food, especially meat and dairy products. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PH posts 7,379 new COVID-19 cases; 21,664 recoveries

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reached 953,106 on Tuesday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 7,379 additional infections.

In its bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure pushed the country’s total active cases to 127,006.

The agency noted however, that the tally does not include data from eight laboratories that failed to submit their reports on time.

Ngayong 4 PM, Abril 20, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 7,379 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The total recoveries rose to 809,959 after 21,664 more patients recuperated from the viral respiratory disease.

The death rose increased to 16,141 with 93 new fatalities.

PH COVID-19 vaccination rollout ranks third in ASEAN – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines ranks third among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccines that were so far administered, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Data presented by Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje on Monday showed that the Philippines has already used a total of 1,456,793 COVID-19 vaccine doses, following Indonesia with 15.8 million and Singapore with 1.6 million doses.

The information presented by Cabotaje during an online briefing was based on April 14 Bloomberg data and other reports from Foreign Service Posts.

The health official said the Philippines was able to administer many of the doses delivered despite vaccine supply problems.

“Ang ating comparison ay number of administered doses kasi that will tell us gaano karami ang nakukuha nating doses at gaano tayo kabilis magbigay ng doses,” she said.

“One million out of 100 million is about 1% of the total population, but we are targeting 70 million,” she added.

Cabotaje, however, said that the vaccination rank on data presented was not based on the number of vaccinated individuals per population.

She explained that the data shows the speed of vaccination in the country as compared to other nations.

“Yung Bloomberg na yan ang kinuha niya – the number of jabs – and then nag-supply lang tayo ng data. But we can look later kung ano ang pwedeng denominator, ano yung total population na gusto nilang bakunahan,” she said.

The Philippine government rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1 following the delivery of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccines donated by the Chinese government.

The country has so far received over 3 million COVID-19 vaccines.

More vaccine doses are expected to arrive this month including 1 million doses from Sinovac, 500,000 from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, and 194,000 doses from Pfizer.

“500,000 on April 22 and another on April 29. May indication, you know it can always change that we may have Pfizer vaccines that are arriving end of April and also Gamaleya Sputnik V, may kaunting initial… 20,000 doses,” Cabotaje said.

“In May, we are expecting another 2.5 Million of Sinovac and we are expecting the AstraZeneca from COVAX, hopefully by May or at the least very early part of June to cover iyong second dose natin,” she added.

The national government is targeting to inoculate 70 million people this year.

Statements of ‘alter-egos’ also reflect Duterte’s stand on West PH Sea issue — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday said there is no need for President Rodrigo Duterte to speak on China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea, saying the strong statements of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of National Defense (DND) also reflects the president’s stance on the issue.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement to dispel notions that Duterte has been silent on the reported number of Chinese vessels still lingering in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“Doctrine of qualified political doctrine, kapag po hindi dini-dis-own ng president ang mga sinasabi ng kaniyang mga alter-egos, parang siya na po ang nagsasalita, hindi na kailangang siya ang magsalita,” Roque said in an online briefing.

The Palace official was referring to a Constitutional Doctrine which states that “utterances of alter egos are utterances of the President unless the president renounces them.”

Roque also reiterated that Duterte already stressed the importance of the 2016 Hague Ruling on the West Philippine Sea and that the Philippines will not set aside the landmark decision.

The National Task Force-West Philippine Sea earlier reported that at least 240 Chinese vessels were found lingering in various parts of the West Philippine Sea during its latest sovereignty patrols in the area.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier demanded the immediate withdrawal of the remaining Chinese vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef, telling the ships to sail away and for the Chinese to “leave our sovereign territories and abide by the international law.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also repeatedly fired off diplomatic protests and called for the immediate withdrawal of Chinese vessels in the disputed waters.

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