DOH warns public on possible airborne transmission of COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 10, 2020   •   705

The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public on the possible airborne transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Despite the lack of further studies, the Health Department said they are not dismissing the possibility that COVID-19 might spread in the air. They reminded the public to always adhere to the health and safety protocols.

Patuloy po tayong natututo tungkol sa SARS-CoV-2 at COVID-19. Kabilang na nga po dito ang mode of transmission o paraan ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 (We are continuously learning about SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19. This includes the mode of transmission of COVID-19). It’s an evolving science and new evidence continues to roll out,” according to DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

More than 200 scientists urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to acknowledge the possibility of airborne transmission. According to a study, “viruses are released during exhalation, talking and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air.”

The WHO previously dismissed the possibility of airborne transmission but said they will release a scientific brief summary regarding the collected data on the modes of transmission of COVID-19

“This is a respiratory pathogen and so it is important that what we know is it fits into the guidance that we have, which is why a comprehensive package of interventions is required to be able to stop transmission,” according to WHO Technical Lead on COVID-19 Pandemic Maria Van Kerkhove.

Meanwhile, the DOH said they will also review and verify the evidence and studies about COVID-19 in order to provide appropriate information and advisories to the public.AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

PH gov’t to tap service provider for COVID-19 vaccine info management system

Robie de Guzman   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines The Philippine government will tap the services of a third-party service provider for the country’s COVID-19 vaccine information management system (VIMS), Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a statement, said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has authorized the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) to perform actions necessary to procure the services of a qualified third-party service provider to cater to all services pertaining to the design approval, IT project implementation, and service management of VIMS.

This to ensure the accurate, timely, and efficient distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines, Roque added.

The IATF also mandated the DICT to formulate the standards to ascertain the qualifications of the third-party service provider in undertaking the required services in the VIMS.

According to Roque, the functions of the Philippine COVID-19 VIMS shall include citizen vaccination capture and automation; provide management and automation; supply chain management; and vims dashboarding, reporting, and analytics.

It shall be the key process automation and data capture, storage, processing, and analytics system for the immunization and administration and supply chain management of the COVID-19 vaccines, he added.

The government is eyeing to roll out its COVID-19 mass vaccination program in February.

IATF approves mandatory 5th-day testing for inbound travelers

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) issued a resolution on Wednesday (January 27) allowing the mandatory 5th-day test for inbound travelers. 

This means all travelers arriving in the Philippines must wait for five days in isolation before they are tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in line with the recommendation by the Department of Health (DOH).

The DOH believes such a measure is more effective in detecting and determining if a traveler is a COVID-19 carrier or not.

“For efficiency, for government and also to be more rational in doing things, atin pong ginawa ito. Pero kung sila ay may nararamdaman na o di kaya ay may high suspicion. Meron siyang sakit na ito, siya po ay kailangang i-test,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

DOH said it is important for each traveller to be isolated to prevent potential transmission of the virus while they are waiting for their turn to be tested.

“Pero ang kailangan natin maintindihan, iyong ating prinsipyo na isolation first, as long as we isolate them even though they are positive we are assured na naco-confine lang doon sa kwartong yun ang sakit at hindi po makakapanghawa kaya isa rin po iyan na nakalagay sa ating resolution na kailangan walang cohorting,” Vergeire said.

Once they are tested negative, they will be endorsed to their respective local government units and serve the 14-day mandatory quarantine period in their areas of destination.

The new testing and quarantine protocols aim at preventing further spread of the more contagious UK variant and possible entry of other variants of COVID-19 into the country.

Meanwhile, based on DOH’s update over 600 individuals who have close contacts with the 13 UK variant positive cases in the Cordillera Administrative Region have been identified.

Also, the DOH has identified a number of returning overseas Filipino workers who arrived in the region and has been waiting for the result of their tests whether they are positive or negative of COVID-19.

“Contacts na nakita na po nila. First, second and third-generation contacts,” Vergeire said,

“Also, nakapagusap na rin po sila. They have reviewed itong triaging system ng CAR. Nakakita na rin sila ng 8 na OFWs na bumalik po sa bansa at pumasok po dito sa lugar na ito,” she added.

Still, the DOH maintained that it is early to declare the situation in the region as community transmission. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

WHO studies long-term effect of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   January 27, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has found evidence of lingering symptoms in COVID-19 patients who have recovered from the disease.

The agency calls it “long COVID” – a condition where survivors of the disease experience long-term health issues like extreme fatigue, persistent cough and exercise intolerance.

According to the international body, they will be conducting a series of consultations about this condition.

“In February 2021, WHO will organize a series of consultations to reach consensus on a description of this condition and its subtypes, and case definitions,” WHO said in a statement.

Meantime, the health agency advised patients who recovered from COVID-19 to have some follow up check ups with their health care provider to monitor their conditions.

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