Filipinos aboard quarantined ship in Japan to be repatriated on Feb. 23 – DOH
Robie de Guzman • February 20, 2020 • 426
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship being quarantined due to cases of coronavirus among its passengers in Yokohama, Japan will be repatriated by the Philippine government on Sunday, February 23, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Thursday.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told reporters in a briefing that the Filipinos will arrive at the Haribon Hangar of Clark Airbase in two planes and will be brought to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Of the 3,711 people onboard the cruise ship, 538 are Filipinos – 531 are crew members while seven are passengers.
The health chief said they need to bring home as soon as possible Filipinos who did not test positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are not showing symptoms of the illness.
However, Filipinos aboard the cruise ship who were found infected with the disease will not be repatriated as they will have to be brought to a hospital to undergo treatment or monitoring.
As of Thursday, the number of Filipinos on the vessel who were found positive for COVID-19 has risen to 44.
Duque said the Philippine government is willing to assist Filipinos who contracted the disease once they have recovered.
He also said that it is not yet known how many Filipinos will return home as some might still decide to stay after disembarking the ship on Wednesday when the two-week quarantine period ended.
The entire cruise ship was placed on quarantine last February 3 after one of its passengers tested positive for the virus.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. earlier ordered for the immediate repatriation of Filipinos aboard the cruise ship.
The DFA said they have been coordinating with Japanese authorities and the operator of the vessel to ensure that everything will be smooth once the repatriation process begins. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the country is now at a downward trend, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
DOH Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said that, for the past six days, the number of new COVID-19 cases that they have been recording has been under 3,000.
“We look at the trends noong ating mga averages per week. Makikita natin bumababa, nakikita natin bumababa tayo ng around 1,000 to 1,200 cases na comparing to the previous (We look at the trends in our average record per week. We see a decline in number around 1,000 to 1,200 cases compared to the previous records),“ she said.
This is also an indication that COVID-19 transmission in the country, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR), has dropped from the danger zone to moderate. From the 81% Critical Care Utilization Rate in the NCR last August, it went down to 60%.
The Critical Care Utilization Rate refers to the availability of ICU beds in COVID-19 wards, ventilator facilities, and other hospital needs for COVID-19 patients.
Health Undersecretary and Treatment Czar Dr. Leopoldo Vega said the decrease in the number of cases can help in recalibrating the strategies and responses of local government units in addressing the pandemic. This includes a boost in contract tracing and isolation of COVID-19 patients.
“Ang malaking bahagi talaga sa pagsugpo ng COVID-19 ay iyong public health measure. At nakikita mo naman lalo na sa Metro Manila na kapag ang LGU ay aggressive sa testing, isolation at tracing ng mga positive sa COVID-19 ay malaki ng pagbabago (The huge part in fighting COVID-19 is public health measure. As you can see, especially in Metro Manila, if an LGU is aggressive in testing, isolation and tracing of COVID-19 positive it makes a huge difference),” he said.
However, the DOH official said there are still areas where COVID-19 cases remain high and that the public should stay vigilant in abiding by the health and safety protocols.
Vergeire also said that despite the decline, the department still does not recommend to ease the quarantine restrictions in the country.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases should also consider other indicators such as the attack and growth curve before submitting their recommendation. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged local government units (LGU) in Metro Manila to endorse to Oplan Kalinga quarantine facilities mild and asymptomatic novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients that could no longer be accommodated in local isolation centers.
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there now 4,000 beds available in Oplan Kalinga facilities due to the increase in discharges or recoveries in the previous weeks.
“We urge all Metro Manila LGUs to endorse patients which they can no longer accommodate in their local isolation facilities to endorse them to the Mega TTMFs and Oplan Kalinga Hotels which now has some 4,000 beds available because many have already been discharged,” he said.
Año said this is in compliance with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 74 which states that all confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are required to isolate in government-approved facilities, except those who are vulnerable or have comorbidities as certified by a local health officer.
Also exempted in this rule are confirmed mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in areas where the government-recognized isolation centers are in full capacity.
“Meron tayong mga Mega Quarantine Facilities and 31 COVID hotels na kung saan puwede sila mag-isolate. Importante kasi talaga na mailabas sila sa bahay kasi nakahahawa sa pamilya,” the DILG chief said.
According to DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, LGUs can coordinate directly with the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) located at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which was created to facilitate a comprehensive and coordinated response to the pandemic by ensuring an efficient health facility referral in Metro Manila.
Malaya said that with the establishment of the OHCC, LGUs and individuals can now easily locate hospitals or isolation facilities near them.
The DILG said the command center is open 24/7 and individuals needing treatment may call the OHCC hotlines at 0927-728-0750, 0927-728-0753, 0927-728-0755, and 0927-728-0798.
Individuals needing assistance from the OHCC may also download the PureForce Citizens App via Google Play Store or App Store, it added.
MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is now requiring facility-based isolation for confirmed asymptomatic and mild coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases through IATF Resolution 74.
The new policy however, exempts patients who are considered vulnerable or having comorbidities and their home meets the conditions specified in the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Joint Administrative Order 2020-0001.
Likewise, another exception is when the Ligtas COVID-19 Centers within the region are fully occupied and the local government unit does not have sufficient isolation facilities.
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