DOH tracing, checking co-travelers of PH’s first 2 cases of variant first detected in India

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2021   •   163

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is currently tracing the 41 individuals who were onboard the same flights as the two overseas Filipino workers who were found with the B.1.617 coronavirus variant that was first detected in India.

In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the first case, a 37-year old male who arrived from Oman, had six close contacts on his flight.

The second case, a 58-year old male who traveled from the United Arab Emirates, had 35 close contacts.

Citing protocols in a plane setting, Vergeire explained that close contacts refer to persons located four sets on the front, at the back, and the sides of a COVID-19 case.

“We are tracing all of them and trying to check all of their statuses,” Vergeire said.

The health official assured the public that all these passengers underwent protocols, such as quarantine and testing upon their arrival in the country.

“Ito pong lahat ng taong ito ay na-subject sa ating protocols pagdating dito, so they were either tested on the fifth or the sixth day and they have completed yung quarantine nila at the national and at the local government level,” she said.

“The protocols were followed and hopefully hindi naman po tayo nagkaroon ng breaches in protocols para masabi natin na merong danger para sa ating mga kababayan,” she added.

The DOH earlier said that the two cases with B.1.617 variant have already been tagged as recovered.

There were no listed other close contacts aside from their co-travellers as they were immediately subjected to quarantine when they arrived in the country.

PH records 13,846 new COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines on Tuesday (September 28) logged 13,846 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the nationwide tally of confirmed cases to 2,522,965.

In its latest bulletin, the Department of Health said the new single-day tally brought the number of active cases to 132,139.

Of these cases, 76.6 percent are mild, 3.99 percent are moderate, 16.4 percent are asymptomatic, 2.1 percent are severe, and 0.9 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH said seven testing laboratories failed to submit data on time.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 2,353,140 after 39,980 more patients recuperated from the viral respiratory disease.

The death toll reached 37,686 after 91 deaths were recorded. 

The DOH also reported a positivity rate of 24.1 percent out of the 47,430 tests conducted on September 26. AAC

Teachers, school staff in pilot run of in-person classes should be fully vaxxed vs COVID-19 — DepEd

Robie de Guzman   •   September 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — All teachers and school personnel who will be participating in the pilot run of face-to-face classes should be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Monday.

During a joint presser held by DepEd and the Department of Health (DOH), Education Secretary Leonor Briones said teachers joining the dry run need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. They should also be under 65 years old without any co-morbidities.

“I believe that if we will push through with this pilot study, we must ensure that the teachers, the staff, the officials who will deal with children, have to be vaccinated,” Briones said.

“This was agreed on by the DepEd and DOH that vaccinations should be there to ensure the safety of our children,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in the same press event.

DepEd earlier said that COVID-19 vaccinations will not be mandatory for teaching and non-teaching personnel joining the pilot test.

The DOH, however, said that regular, mandatory testing for teachers and students is still not being discussed.

“We still follow our risk-based testing protocols. We do not recommend the regular testing of students and even teachers and non-teaching personnel in order for them to go to schools,” Vergeire said.

She assured that contingency plans are being prepared to ensure the prevention of infections in schools during the pilot test.

The DepEd has been preparing to conduct a dry run for limited physical classes in areas classified as low-risk for COVID-19.

The pilot run will be implemented in 100 public elementary schools, from kindergarten to Grade 3, five public senior high schools, and 20 private schools.

The number of students participating in the program will also be limited, with consent from parents.

Under the approved guidelines, Kindergarten classes will include 12 learners, while Grades 1 to 3 classes will have 16 students. Technical-Vocation classes in five senior high schools may have 20 learners.

Learners in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will only spend a maximum of 3 hours in school while senior high school students will have 4 hours.

The pilot will feature a combined implementation of face-to-face classes and distance learning.

The dry run will be carried out for two months.

The government has yet to announce the exact date of the pilot run for physical classes, as well as the list of participating schools.

Physical classes in most schools in the country have been suspended since the pandemic due to the threat of novel coronavirus disease.

COVID-19 antigen test para sa mga maghahain ng COC, hindi inirerekomenda ng DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi sang-ayon ang Department of Health (DOH) sa paggamit ng antigen test ng mga maghahain ng kanilang certificate of candidacy o COC sa Oktubre.

Una nang inanunsyo ng Commission on Elections (COMELEC) na magtatakda ito ng antigen testing booth kung saan idaraos ang COC filing ng mga kakandidato sa 2022 elections na hindi makapagsusumite ng RT-PCR test result.

Kabilang sa mga requirement ng COMELEC ang pagprisinta ng negative result sa sinomang tatakbo sa pagka-pangulo, vice president, senator o party-list representative na magsusumite ng kanilang certificate of candidacy, gayundin ang kanilang mga kasama sa araw ng COC filing.

Pero ayon kay DOH Undesecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, may akmang gamit ang rapid antigen test kaya hindi ito ang dapat na gamitin ng COMELEC.

Batay sa DOH Covid-19 management protocol, ang mga rapid antigen test ay para lamang sa mga may matas na viral load o flu-like symptoms, maging sa mga may exposure sa COVID-19 positive at mga nakatira sa mga lugar na may clustering o surge ng kaso.

“We don’t recommend the rapid antigen test kits to be used as a screening test for people who will vote or for people whose going to join in events. Kaya nga sabi nga namin last week, kailangan appropriate ang use para walang question as the results that will come out if ever we use it,” ani Vergeire.

Magpupulong muna aniya ang DOH at COMELEC kung ano ang mga dapat na ipatupad na protocol upang masegurong ligtas at hindi maging dahilan ng hawaan ng COVID-19 ang isasagawang paghahain ng COC ng mga kakandidato sa darating na halalan.

“Makikipag-ugnayan din tayo because the COMELEC naman po nakikipag- ugnayan sa atin, nakikipagusap sa atin tungkol sa mga health protocols. Kasama pa rin po kami sa nagbibigay ng recommendation, we will be discussing this with them para po appropriate na mga testing protocols ang maisagwa natin sa mga ganitong events na ito,” ang pahayag ni Vergeire.

Sa Oktubre na nakatakdang simulan ang paghahain ng COC para sa mga nais tumakbo sa 2022 elections.

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