DOH wants one-week extension of ECQ in NCR Plus

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2021   •   1160

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it is recommending an extension of the enhanced community quarantine re-enforced over Metro Manila and nearby provinces for at least one more week amid an uptick in COVID-19 infections.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the ECQ should “ideally” be implemented for two weeks to see a decline in the number of COVID-19 infections and its effect on the country’s healthcare utilization rate.

The recommendation comes after the Philippines’ daily tally of infections breached 10,000 for the first time since the pandemic began last year.

DOH’s top epidemiologist earlier said that a one-week ECQ period would not be enough to sustain a downward trend in the number of coronavirus cases.

Vergeire said that based on their research, the DOH takes an average of nine days before it can isolate an individual infected with COVID-19, depending on people’s decision on whether to seek consultation when experiencing symptoms and to get tested for the virus.

She also reiterated earlier projections that the country could have up to 430,000 active cases by the end of April if the ECQ was not enforced in the NCR Plus bubble.

Vergeire said an assessment will be conducted to determine the impact of an ECQ extension on public health and the economy.

She, however, stressed that their recommendation is not yet final and that it is being studied by the government’s Task Force for COVID-19 response. -RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

DOH studying possibility of mixing vaccine brands – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is currently looking into the possibility of mixing different brands of vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday.

FDA director general Eric Domingo said the DOH is already drafting a set of guidelines that will allow a person to receive different brands of COVID-19 vaccines for first and second dose in case of severe allergic reaction and other adverse effects.

Aaralin po ngayon yan ng Department of Health, in fact, meron naman po talagang ongoing meetings ang Department of Health on that dahil meron po talagang instances na for example naturukan ka ng bakuna ng first dose tapos nagka-severe allergy ka so hindi ka na puwede sa second dose nun at kailangang isipin ngayon yung magiging alternative,” Domingo said during the Laging Handa briefing.

“Gumagawa na ng guidelines ngayon ang DOH kung paano ‘yung interchangeability or mixing ng vaccines in case the second dose cannot be given na identical doon sa first dose,” he added.

Domingo said this after President Rodrigo Duterte said he has requested China to recall the 1,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines it donated following criticisms over his decision to receive a jab that has yet to secure an emergency use authorization from the FDA.

Duterte received his first dose of Sinopharm vaccine on Monday night.

Malacañang earlier said that the vaccine dose used on the president was covered by the compassionate special permit issued by the FDA for the Presidential Security Group.

PH logs 6,637 new COVID-19 infections

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) climbed to 1,080,172 on Thursday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 6,637 additional infections.

In its 4 p.m. bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure pushed the country’s total active cases to 63,170.

Of this, 94.3 percent are mild, 1.9 percent are asymptomatic, 1.6 percent are severe and 1.2 percent are in critical condition.

The department noted that the low number of case count on Thursday was due to lower number of samples received by laboratories on Tuesday.

Ngayong 4 PM, Mayo 6, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 6,637 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19. Samantala…

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Thursday, May 6, 2021

The DOH also reported an increase by 6,091 in the number of recoveries, bringing the total recovered patients to 999,011.

The death toll rose to 17,991 with 191 new fatalities.

The DOH also reported in its bulletin a positivity rate of 14.7 percent out of 44,997 tests.

It said the case count reflected in the bulletin was based on tests conducted on May 4.

Only 5 travelers from India tested positive for COVID-19, DOH clarifies

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday clarified that only five, not six, travelers from India who arrived in the Philippines prior to the travel ban have tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the DOH said the Bureau of Quarantine recorded 149 passengers with travel history to India from April 1 to 30. Of which, 129 are returning overseas Filipinos and 20 were foreign nationals.

All of these passengers were quarantined upon arrival and tested on the 6th or 7th day of their quarantine.

“Among these cases, 5 tested positive for COVID 19 through RT PCR while 137 of them tested negative. Among those who tested positive, 1 is still in isolation while the disposition of the 4 patients are being verified,” the DOH said.

“Samples from these positive cases are currently being determined if they are adequate for sequencing,” it added.

The DOH also said that the test results of the 7 other travelers are currently being verified and that it is coordinating with concerned local government units and  Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Units to get further updates on the current health status of all these travelers.

The Philippine government banned travelers from India from April 29 to May 14 following reports of another variant causing a surge in COVID-19 cases there.



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