Duterte may be injected with Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine by May 2021 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020   •   336

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte may be inoculated with Russia-made vaccine against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in May 2021, Malacañang said on Thursday.

In a televised press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte could get Sputnik V vaccine shots as early as May 1 provided that the vaccine is already approved by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The May 1 is when the PSG [Presidential Security Group] may allow him ‘pag natapos na po lahat ng test na kinakailangang gawin dito sa Gamaleya vaccine,” he said.

Duterte earlier said he is willing to participate in the clinical trials for Sputnik V.

Base on the timeline presented by Roque, the vaccine expert panel will review the results of phases 1 and 2 of the Sputnik V’s clinical trials this September.

The Philippines and Russia will conduct simultaneous phase 3 clinical trials which will run until March 2021. The Russian government is expected to shoulder the costs.

The vaccine will then have to go through the registration process with the FDA in April 2021.

Roque, however, stressed that the vaccine could become available in the market earlier since other organizations are also in advanced stages of conducting clinical trials.

“Baka mayroon pang ibang mauna dahil marami namang pong nasa third phase ng clinical trials at matagal na po silang nasa 3rd phase,” he said.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research, said that if no problems will be encountered on the efficacy of Russia-made vaccine during the trials, the Sputnik V vaccine could be rolled out for commercial use in the Philippines by April 2021.

Montoya is part of the team of Philippine health and vaccine experts who met with the manufacturer and scientists who developed the Sputnik V.

Russia on Tuesday announced it is the first country to grant regulatory approval to a vaccine after less than two months of human testing.

The announcement raised concerns from some international scientists about the safety of the vaccine.

The World Health Organization said Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine should first undergo the necessary evaluation process before it could become available for public use. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Mayor Isko discourages public from visiting Manila Bay Sands area amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Monday called on the public to refrain from visiting the Manila Bay Sands area amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Domagoso made the appeal after incidents of overcrowding during the opening of the Manila Bay Sands over the weekend.

A number of people who wanted to get a peek of the beach during its opening failed to observe physical distancing and many were seen not wearing face mask and face shield.

While understanding the excitement of the people for the project, Domagoso said the public should keep in mind that the threat of COVID-19 is still present.

“Alam ko po marami sa inyo nasisiyahan, nagagalak sapagkat ito’y kakaibang pangyayari. ‘Yong imposible naging posible. Ngunit, paalala ko pa rin na meron pang pandemya. Mayroong pa pong pangamba, panganib sa lungsod ng Maynila,” Mayor Isko said.

Moreno said that since the project has yet to be completed, the area will be closed to the public.

He also asked the city police to ramp up the security in the Manila Bay Sands and to stop people from staying or taking photos and videos of the area.

According to Manila Police Station 5 officer-in-charge Lt. Col. Alex Daniel, they have barricaded the entry points and posted at least 20 policemen to guard the area 24/7.

“Sa ngayong kino-close po natin itong lugar kung saan may proyekto po itong sa white sand so katulad kahapon medyo nalabag po sa ngayon iniiwasan po natin sa ngayon na magkaroon ulit ng ganun so may ginagawa po tayong guildelines sa pagbubukas po ulit nitong proyekto na ito para maayos po natin sa mga susunod na araw kung magbubukas po,” Daniel said.

Ermita Police station commander Police Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan has been relieved from his post following the local police’s failure to maintain social distancing measures during the event.

Physical distancing is among the health protocols being implemented by authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Duterte orders gov’t agencies to produce, distribute free face masks to poor Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed several government agencies to coordinate and pool their resources for the production and distribution of face masks amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under Memorandum Order No. 49 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and issued Wednesday, Duterte directed the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to lead other government agencies for the initiative.

These agencies include the Department of Health (DOH), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

Among the tasks of the DTI is to consolidate the efforts of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) as well as cooperatives and community organizations for the production of face masks.

The DTI is also directed to support TESDA in gaining access to production networks and supplier markets for raw materials and finished products.

The DTI will also coordinate with the DOH to determine the minimum, most cost-efficient and good quality specifications to ensure that the face masks are effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

The DBM will help in the procurement of face masks while the DSWD will be tapped to identify beneficiaries and distribute the government-procured masks to financially disadvantaged and persons with disability, as well as those enrolled under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.

The PMS will monitor the distribution and consolidate a report to be submitted to the president.

Other government agencies and state-run companies were also directed to cooperate and support the program.

“It is imperative to reinforce non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as minimizing face-to-face interaction, wearing of face masks and face shields, and observing social distancing to complement our healthcare facilities and support our health workers in containing the further spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the memorandum read. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Pagtatalaga ng overseers sa mga lugar na may mataas na COVID-19 transmission, kinuwestiyon

Robie de Guzman   •   August 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Kinuwestiyon ng ilan ang ginawang pagtatalaga ng pamahalaan ng overseers o mga tagapagbantay sa mga lungsod sa Metro Manila at ilang lalawigan na may mataas na community transmission ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Kabilang sa mga hindi pumabor sa hakbang si Dr. Anthony Leachon na dating special adviser ng National Task Force.

Aniya, medical experts ang kailangan ng mga lokal na pamahalaan upang gabayan ang kanilang mga plano kaugnay ng paglaban sa coronavirus pandemic.

“The LGUs need medical experts to guide them in the execution of their plans,” ani Leachon sa kanyang Twitter post.

Nagpahayag rin ng duda si Senator Nancy Binay sa hakbang na aniya ay tila hindi pinag-isipan ng pamahalaan.

Aniya, hindi tiyak kung may kapasidad ba o kakayanin pa ng Cabinet secretaries na gampanan ang dagdag na trabaho.

Kamakailan, itinalaga ang mga miyembro ng Inter-Agency Task Force, na karamihan ay mga miyembro ng gabinete ni Pangulong Duterte, bilang tagapag-bantay sa iba’t ibang lugar na may napapaulat na mataas na insidente ng hawahan ng COVID-19.

Kabilang sa mga lugar na ito ang 16 siyudad at isang munisipalidad sa Metro Manila, gayundin sa mga probinsiya ng Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna at Rizal.

Ngunit paglilinaw ng pamahalaan, layunin nito na tulungan ang mga lokal na opisyal na agad maaksyunan ang anumang suliraning kinakaharap kaugnay ng banta ng coronavirus disease.

Sinabi rin ni Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles na ang pagtatalaga ng overseers ay batay na rin sa karanasan ng pamahalaan sa pagpigil sa pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa Cebu City.

Matatandaang itinalaga ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte si Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu bilang overseer ng COVID-19 response ng pamahalaan sa Cebu City na noo’y napapaulat na may mataas na kaso ng nakakahawang sakit.

Ayon kay Nograles, naging matagumpay ang paghawak sa krisis sa Cebu dahil sa hakbang na ito.

“Because of the experience we’ve had with Cebu City wherein the President assigned Secretary Roy Cimatu, member of the IATF, to act as kumbaga overseer doon sa Cebu City,” ani Nograles.

Sa ngayon, nasa 153,660 na ang kabuuang kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa; 71,405 sa mga ito ang gumaling sa sakit habang 2.442 naman ang nasawi. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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