DOJ clears Ubial on Dengvaxia case

Maris Federez   •   April 4, 2019   •   2996

Former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed a criminal complaint against former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial on the controversial Dengvaxia case.

Ubial was one of the Department of Health former and present officials who were accused of being liable in the deaths of school children who got inoculated with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

In a seven-page resolution signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Claire Eufracia Pagayanan, the DOJ said it found no probable cause to charge Ubial with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide based on the complaint filed by former Health Secretary Janette Garin.

The resolution reads, “considering that Garin failed to show the existence of the corpus delicti of the crime of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide, the complaint against Ubial shall be dismissed for lack of probable cause.”

The DOJ explained that in order to establish Ubial’s liability on the crime charged there must be a direct causal connection between such negligence and the reported deaths.

The resolution further pointed out that “Garin failed to name a single victim who reportedly died as a result of Ubial’s alleged negligent approval and implementation of community-based Dengue immunization program.”

In her complaint, Garin stressed that the Department of Health (DOH) implemented a school-based dengue immunization program but, when Ubial took over, there was a reckless decision to have it expanded into a community-based program which resulted in the reported deaths.

“Deaths were reported soon after the implementation of Sec. Ubial’s Community-Based Dengue Immunization Program. It must be emphasized that the deaths started during Sec. Ubial’s term as DOH Secretary and afterwards,” Garin pointed out.

Garin further said that the DOH, during her time, preferred the school-based dengue immunization program “because the physical and organizational structure of such a program is already in place considering that Dengvaxia is already the sixth (6th) vaccine introduced in schools.”

It can be recalled that on February 11, the DOJ inked a resolution of finding probable cause to charge Garin and nine other Health officials on the Dengvaxia vaccine mess. – Maris Federez

DOH warns public on possible airborne transmission of COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 10, 2020

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)

DOH sees clustering of COVID-19 cases in over 400 areas nationwide

Robie de Guzman   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reported it has monitored around 488 clustering of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in different areas in the country.

The DOH said this means that an active transmission of virus is happening in these areas.

As of July 8, the department said that 379 of the clusters were reported in communities, 46 in health facilities, 24 in jails, and 39 in other areas.

The DOH also reported clustering of cases in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), at a construction site in Metro Manila and several barangays across the country.

It also said that event-based report showed that Metro Manila had six new barangays with clustering, and one each in Cebu City, Mandaue City, Palawan, and Albay.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has recorded a total of 50,359 cases.

The DOH surmised that the continued increase in coronavirus infections in the country is not just attributed to improved testing as it may also be due to the clustering of cases and community transmission.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the spike in cases, especially in Metro Manila, is also probably due to increased physical contact following the easing of quarantine restrictions.

“Maaaring ang pagtaas ng mga cases sa Metro Manila ay dahil sa increased testing capacity at community transmission na ating nararanasan nang simulan ang pag ease ng community restrictions,” she said.

“Lalong napaiigting ang community transmission kung lax o hindi natin sinusunod ang minimum public health standards,” she added.

Vergeire said they are now closely monitoring possible clustering of coronavirus cases in different areas of the country.

The country’s coronavirus cases rose to 50,359 on Wednesday after the DOH reported additional 2,539 cases. The agency said that 1,922 of this figure were fresh or newly-validated while 617 were reported late.

The DOH also reported a total of 12,588 recovered patients and 1,314 fatalities.

Vergeire reiterated the agency’s appeal to the public to be more cautious and strictly observe health protocols such as the wearing of face mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing.

“This is our call to everybody, whether you be in the private or public sector. If you are going out and exposing yourself and your loved ones to an unseen enemy, protect yourself. by doing so, you protect your family, you protect your community, you protect the nation,” she said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

6 lugar na may mataas na kaso ng COVID-19, patuloy na binabantayan – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   July 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Anim na lugar sa bansa ang patuloy ngayong binabantayan ng Department of Health dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng kaso ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, kabilang sa mga ito ang Manila at Quezon City sa Metro Manila. Apat naman ang binabantayan sa Central Visayas – ang Cebu Province, Cebu City, Mandaue at Lapu Lapu City.

“These are the top 6 na tinitingnan natin for this past week, nakakapagtala tayo ng maraming kaso. But of course, there are other areas that we are strictly monitoring because walang kaso tapos nagkaroon,” ani Vergeire.

“Sa Cebu City we have 64 Barangays na found to have clusters, sa Nationl Capital Region we have 314 barangays reported to have these clusters of cases,” dagdag pa niya.

Tinukoy rin ng health official ang ilang uri ng pampublikong transportasyon sa Metro Manila kung saan malaki ang tiyansa na magkaroon ng hawaan ng sakit dahil sa closed setting nito.

“We also have identified three closed settings dito sa National Capital Region, kasama na diyan iyon ang MRT na binabantayan natin sa ngayon,” ani Vergeire.

“Iyon pa rin, the basic rule in a quarantine, kahit anong level pa ng quarantine… Ang basic principle natin naka-quarantine tayo so kung wala kang kailangan gawin sa labas, wag kang lumabas ng bahay. You stay at home,” dagdag pa niya. “Second would be hindi dapat tayo dapat nagtravel beyond sa puntahan natin, dont go to areas with identified community transmission.”

Ayon sa DOH, ang patuloy na pagtaas ng kaso ay posibleng bunsod ng madalas na pagkakaroon ng physical contact kasunod ng pagluwag ng ipinatutupad na quarantine measures sa bansa.

Sa kasalukuyan, mayroon nang kabuuang 46,333 COVID-19 cases sa bansa. Batay sa pinakahuling ulat ng DOH, 32,845 sa mga ito ang aktibong kaso, 12,185 naman ang naka-recover samantalang nasa 1,303 ang bilang ng nasawi mula sa nakakahawang sakit. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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