DOH to meet with Cebu execs on COVID-19 protocols for arriving overseas Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021   •   536


MANILA, Philippines – Officials from the Department of Health (DOH) and the province of Cebu will hold a dialogue to resolve differing COVID-19 protocols for arriving passengers, a health official said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the meeting will be held after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) stressed that its directives on the COVID-19 testing and quarantining of incoming passengers must be strictly implemented.

 “Ibig sabihin, kung ano man po yung protocols ng IATF, yun po ang ipatutupad natin sa lahat ng ating borders across the country, that is very clear,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“With regard to the meeting with Cebu officials, yes, we will be going there. Ito po naman ay isang bagay na gusto natin ding gawin para magkaroon na ng kalinawan sa discrepancy sa protocols,” she added.

Vergeire did not say who will be attending and when the meeting will be held.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier directed the provincial government of Cebu to adhere to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols set by the national government for returning overseas Filipinos.

Cebu had been administering RT-PCR tests on returning nationals upon their arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

This is contrary to the IATF protocols, which require arriving Filipinos to take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival.

“Everything can be managed through this discussion,” Vergeire said. “We will be hearing them and they will be hearing us and hopefully, by the end of that day, resolved na po yung matter.”

The DOH earlier said that based on scientific evidence, the viral load in an individual infected with COVID-19 is still high on the seventh or eighth day, and that there is a high percentage that a person who might have the disease will turn positive during this period.

DOH says IATF yet to decide on quarantine classifications; asks public not to share unverified info

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday night called on the public to refrain from sharing unverified information following the circulation of messages about possible lockdowns.

The DOH clarified that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has yet to decide on whether it will recommend stricter quarantine restrictions amid the threat of the more contagious COVID-19 variants.

“We would like to clarify that the IATF has yet to decide on the quarantine classification of Metro Manila and other areas,” the DOH said in a statement.

“We remind the public not to share unverified sources of information to avoid panic and confusion,” it added.

National Task Force against COVID-19 deputy chief implementer Vince Dizon earlier said the national government is open to proposals to implement a lockdown to curb the further spread of coronavirus disease.

The OCTA Research group earlier suggested the enforcement of a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown in Metro Manila after its COVID-19 reproduction rate climbed to 1.33.

The national government is expected to announce the new quarantine classifications after the IATF meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte Wednesday.

DOH expects Duterte administration to pass three health bills

Marje Pelayo   •   July 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday (July 26) that a bill to establish Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a health bill for the creation of a Virology Institute will be passed in Congress.

The Chief Executive believes in the capability of experts to create our own medicines and drugs against viruses and diseases.

But he was not able to mention the emergency funds and benefits that could further suffice the needs of medical frontliners.

The Department of Health (DOH) was expecting that the president would mention the extension of COVID-19 emergency funds like having Bayanihan 3.

On the other hand, President Duterte did not forget to express his gratitude to all medical frontliners who are continuously sacrificing for the country’s COVID-19 response.

Since the pandemic began, there are more than 21,000 medical frontliners who got infected with COVID-19.

Most of them recovered but more than 100 of them succumbed to the disease.

Meanwhile, the Health Department is really hopeful for the passage of three health bills before Duterte’s term ends.

Like what chief executive said, one is the establishment of a Philippine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Philippine CDC).

One of its components is the creation of virology institute

“Katulad ng sinabi ko sa inyo noong isang linggo, we have the Philippine Center for Disease Prevention and Control Bill. Ito yung naglalayong magkaroon tayo ng highly technical institution kung saan researches, surveillance, laboratories, ay maintegrate natin sa isa kasama po ang mga eksperto na tutulungan tayo for this institution para mas magkaroon tayo ng proactive response during times of public health emergencies,” explained Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Also , the DOH expects the passage of a Medical Reserve Corps Bill.

“We also have the Medical Reserve Corps Bill, kung saan ito yung act providing for the development administration, organization, training, maintenance, and utilization of Medical Reserve Corps,” Vergeire noted.

“This is also in relation to what happened to us dito po sa pandemyang ito. The third health bill is the Health Security Bill. This will strengthen the Philippine health security, emergency preparedness, readiness and response of the country in times of health crisis,” she added.

President Duterte said the government is trying all its best to respond to the needs of Filipino saying: “Bahay muna, bago ang lahat.”

He reported that during his term, although not perfect, testing capacity, hospital beds, facility and isolation beds have increased.

Mega and modular quarantine facilities were also established in over a year’s time.

Likewise, with the limited COVID-19 vaccine supply that the country has, 17 million Filipinos have received their first dose; 36 million doses of vaccines are expected to arrive, with over 30 million already administered to the priority sector.

He also said, the country can no longer afford another lockdown but with the threat of Delta variant, if it is already needed he would not hesitate to decide to prevent the spread of more transmissible and deadlier COVID-19 variants of concern like the Delta variant. -MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Duterte thanks COVID-19 frontliners in final SONA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed gratitude to the country’s frontline workers and government partners who have kept the nation afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Allow me this opportunity to extend my personal and the Nation’s gratitude to all those who selflessly gave their all in the fight against COVID-19,” Duterte said in his final State of the Nation Address held at the Batasang Pambansa on July 26.

“Our health workers and other frontliners who risked their own safety to keep our essential health services and our food supply chain running, boost economic activity, and ensure peace and order in our communities,” he added.

He also thanked the private sector for its assistance to the government in fighting COVID-19, particularly its sustained aid for Filipinos in need despite the pandemic’s impact to industries.

Duterte also acknowledged the efforts of the country’s local chief executives to respond to the public health crisis.

“This pandemic pushed you to step up and deliver responsive assistance. I am glad to have seen you undertake new and heightened responsibilities, working doubly hard to protect your constituents,” he said.

The President likewise mentioned the Philippines’s international development partners who extended help amidst the global health emergency, noting the country remembers their kindness and goodwill with sincere gratitude.

“And to all of you who answered the call to protect one another by adhering to our nation’s health protocols, daghang salamat,” he said.


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