Don’t expect first COVID-19 vaccinations until early 2021 — WHO

UNTV News   •   July 23, 2020   •   380

Researchers are making good progress in developing vaccines against COVID-19, with a handful in late-stage trials, but their first use cannot be expected until early 2021, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said on Wednesday (July 22).

WHO is working hard to ensure fair distribution of the vaccines, but in the meantime it is key to suppress the spread of the coronavirus, said Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies programme, as daily new cases around the globe are at near-record levels.

“Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated,” Ryan said, noting that several vaccines were now in phase 3 trials and none had failed, so far, in terms of safety or ability to generate an immune response. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)

WHO solidarity trial in PH to begin in December—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 27, 2020

The solidarity trial of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines and other countries will begin in December.

Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 150 to 200 will participate in the trial in 12 sites in the country.

Sa November kasi parang maguumpisa sa isang site and mag-follow na po iyong iba’t ibang clinical trials in the other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020 (The trial will begin in November in one site and it will be followed by other clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020), she said.

The Health Department also announced Interferon will no longer be a part of WHO’s solidarity trial. Vergeire reported the said drug did not reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.

Iyong gamot hindi na-reach objective (The medicine did not reach its objective),” she said.

The WHO has previously discontinued the use of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment after seeing no signs of effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the WHO added two drugs for the therapeutics solidarity trial, which include Acalabrutinib that is used for the chemotherapeutic regimen of patients. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Davao City prohibits trick-or-treat, other holiday events amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020

No community events, parties, and other similar gatherings in all government and private offices and establishments will be held in Davao City especially during the holiday season, the local government announced Thursday.

In an advisory, the city government said the prohibition includes trick-or-treating, which is a traditional event of western countries adopted by some Filipinos during Undas period.

The measure will be implemented after health officials and infectious disease experts noted that conducting office or community events increase the transmission and risk of contracting the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Davao City, just like the rest of the world, continues to face the threat of the pandemic. Cases are still surging and it is feared that more and more deaths will happen if the unnecessary gathering of people is allowed,” the advisory read.

The city government reiterated its appeal to residents to stay home and avoid areas where people converge to avoid exposure and transmission of COVID-19.

It also encouraged residents to celebrate the holidays with their families intimately, use online shopping for groceries, food delivery services, and other contactless services to avoid unnecessary exposure. 

Instead of spending money on a grand party celebration and risk contracting the virus, residents are urged to share grocery items with a family in need, the city government added.

“This year, celebrations will only be truly special and meaningful if you, your family, and everyone in our communities are healthy and safe,” it added. 

The city government likewise advised residents to think twice before leaving their homes to attend parties, dinners, and other events that are not necessary or urgent, and always consider their own families’ safety and other people in the community.

As of Oct. 21, Davao City has recorded a total of 2,851 COVID-19 infections, of which, 671 are active cases. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lucille Lloren)

Manila opens another quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The city government of Manila on Wednesday opened its newest quarantine facility at the San Andres Sports Complex in a bid to increase the city’s capacity in dealing with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“This is our preparation, and in our little way, to continue to strengthen our load capacity na kung sakali, huwag naman sanang loobin ng Dios na mangyari sa atin, yung nangyari sa most portion of Europe na nagkaroon ng second wave,” Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso told reporters at the opening of the quarantine center.

“Inaabatan namin iyong posibleng hindi magandang mangyari sa December o Enero so kung dumating iyon, at huwag naman sana, at least kahit papano, ‘yung Maynila may espasyo,” he added.

The airconditioned quarantine facility, which has 54 beds with toilet and WiFi, was established with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

So far, the city has 13 operational quarantine facilities, aside from walk-in testing centers and two confirmatory or swab testing centers.

Mayor Isko said they are still looking for more spaces to be converted as isolation centers amid the pandemic.

“Sa awa ng Dios we only have 68 percent occupancy rate with our facilities and 33 percent occupancy rate sa amin namang mga COVID-19 bedrooms in our six hospitals,” he said.

As of Oct. 20, Manila has recorded a total of 18,963 COVID-19 infections with 557 deaths. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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