DOH proposes COVID-19 swab test ‘price cap’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 21, 2020   •   244

The Department of Health on Monday (September 21) said it has submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte its recommendation for an executive order issuance that would place a price cap on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) swab tests.

DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department has noticed the differential pricing of swab tests in laboratories across the country. She added that the current law on price ceiling for medicines excludes diagnostics and professional fees.

“We may be able to have this executive order so that we can somehow regulate the prices of swabs, or prices of testing for COVID-19,” she said.

The DOH official also said the department will conduct small surveys to determine price range and will consult experts and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regarding the swab test prices. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Duterte to announce quarantine classifications for November tonight

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 26, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte will announce the new quarantine classifications for November on Monday (October 26) evening, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“We will proceed with our meeting with him via Zoom at inaasahan pa rin pong magre-report ang ilang miyembro ng Gabinete lalong lalo na dito sa quarantine classifications (and we expect several Cabinet members will also present their report especially for the quarantine classifications),” he said during a press briefing.

Roque also confirmed the technical working group of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) already has a recommendation regarding the quarantine classifications.

The Palace official also confirmed that the President already assigned a vaccine czar two months ago. This was after the proposal of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralp Recto in order to prepare for the needed storage facility and the system for vaccine distribution.

“Two months ago, I recalled si Presidente may tinalagang vaccine czar kaya lang po, iyong naitalagang vaccine czar is hesitant when I asked him if I could remind the public that he has been designated as a vaccine czar kasi baka hindi na raw po maalala ni President. So we would like to wait for the Pesident to make an announcement anew (I recalled, two months ago, the President already assigned a vaccine czar. However, the assigned vaccine czar was hesitant when I asked him if I could remind the public that he has been designated. He said the President may have forgotten already so we would like to wait for the President to make the announcement anew),” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DFA reports one new COVID-19 case among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   October 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday (October 25) reported one new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among overseas Filipinos from the Asia and the Pacific.

Also, no new fatality and no new recovery were reported. 

To date, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad is at 11,199.

Meanwhile, the tally of fatalities is still at 815 while recoveries remain at 7,248.

The Middle East and Africa continue to be the combined regions with the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and have recorded the most number of deaths at 7,376 and 532, respectively. 

The DFA vows full commitment in monitoring the situation of overseas Filipinos who are affected by the pandemic and remains steadfast in promoting and protecting their welfare.

Relaxed travel restrictions still pose health risks—UP OCTA Research

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2020

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team said relaxed travel restrictions may still pose health risks.

Dr. Guido David, team member of the UP OCTA Research, said it is too early for the country to accept inbound travels and that further review is needed to avoid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

“There’s a surge happening right now in Europe so if we were not careful, maraming cases [there are a lot of cases] outside the Philippine, in Europe and certain parts of the world, kasama pa rin diyan iyong sa (these includes) the United States and India. So we have to be careful about letting people,” he said.

David also said despite the drop of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, there is still a possibility for cases to increase if no safety measures is implemented.

“We’re also a bit worried because the rate of decrease in NCR is not that low anymore. It’s very slow. So it could be, the trend might be reversing anytime,” he added.

Services of Red Cross should also resume first, according to David, because its testing capacity covers 1/4 of the total testing capacity of the country. He also reiterated the need for the public to cooperate in order to fight against the virus.

“The public should be aware that the virus is still here. That the pandemic is not yet over. So if they’re loosening restrictions, responsibility is in the public in deciding whether or not they want to go out,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda).

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