Filipinos in countries covered by travel ban can return home — Palace

Maris Federez   •   June 21, 2021   •   420

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang announced on Sunday that Filipinos in countries covered by temporary travel ban due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will still be allowed to return to the Philippines subject to quarantine and testing protocols.

This is as long as they are covered by the government’s repatriation efforts.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the clarification after the government extended the travel ban imposed on passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman until June 30.

“Let it be clear, however, that Filipinos covered by the repatriation programs of the government and repatriation activities of manning/recruitment agencies cleared by the Bureau of Quarantine are not prohibited from entering the Philippines,” he said.

“They can enter the country, subject to testing and quarantine protocols. We hope this clarifies the matter,” he added.

Roque said the extended travel ban was imposed to ensure continuous strict border control to prevent the spread of the B.1617 “double mutant” COVID-19 variant first discovered in India.

He said “continued vigilance” is imperative since the Delta variant is more transmissible as seen in the experience of other countries.

Initially, the travel ban on passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal was imposed until May 14, while travel restrictions on Oman and the United Arab Emirates were enforced on May 15 to 31. —/mbmf

55 more COVID-19 Delta variant cases detected

Maris Federez   •   July 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Fifty-five more cases of the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant have been detected in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) said in a statement released Sunday (July 25).

This brings the total Delta cases in the country to 119.

Of the new number, 37 are local cases –14 from Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), eight from Northern Mindanao, six from the National Capital Region, six from Central Luzon, two from Davao Region, and one from the Ilocos Region.

The other 17 cases are returning overseas Filipino, while one case is being verified if it is local or an ROF.

One case has died while 54 cases have been tagged as recovered, the DOH said.

The DOH, together with the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) also reported the detection of 94 Alpha variant cases, 179 Beta variant cases, and 9 P.3 variant cases in the latest batch of whole-genome sequencing.

“With the establishment of the local transmission of the Delta variant, we need a swifter implementation of our response strategies,” the DOH said.

The health department called on local government units (LGUs) “to immediately contain observed case increases through granular lockdowns and stronger Prevent-Detect-Isolate-Treat-Reintegrate (PDITR) implementation.”

“We call on both public and private sectors to ensure active case finding, aggressive contact tracing, immediate isolation or quarantine, and compliance to minimum public health standards in their respective localities and even workplaces,” it added.

The DOH also urged those who have become exposed to a COVID-19 patient or have developed signs or symptoms of the deadly respiratory virus “to immediately isolate and reach out to their Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams or BHERTs for appropriate medical management.”

17 more COVID-19 Delta variant cases detected — DOH

Maris Federez   •   July 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH), the University of the Philippines – Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) reported the detection of 17 more Delta (B.1.617.2) variant cases in the country.

According to the three agencies ‘ joint statement released on Saturday, July 24, the detection of the additional 17 brought the total Delta variant cases to 64.

Of the additional 17 Delta variant cases, 12 are local cases, one is a Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF), and four are still under verification as to whether they are local or ROF cases, the statement said.

It added that of the 12 local cases nine had an indicated address in the National Capital Region (NCR), while three were from Calabarzon Region.

Three cases remain active, while 14 have been tagged as recovered.

Meanwhile, the group has also detected 11 more Alpha (B.1.1.7), 13 Beta (B.1.351), and two P.3 variant cases on the latest batch of whole-genome sequencing.

The statement said that of the additional 11 Alpha variant cases, 10 were local cases and one is currently being verified.

Based on the case line list, one remains active, seven cases have died, and three cases have been tagged as recovered.

This brings the total Alpha variant cases to 1,679, the report said.

The report further said that the additional 13 Beta variant cases are composed of 10 local and three under verification cases.

Ten of the cases have already recovered and only one is still active. Two cases, however, had reportedly died.

The recorded data showed that the total Beta variant cases are now at 1,840.

Meanwhile, both recently detected P.3 variant cases have been tagged as recovered. One is a local case and the other is still being verified if it is a local or an ROF case.

The report said that the samples taken from seafarers of M/V Tug Clyde and Barge Claudia have been included in the next batch of whole-genome sequencing.

With the announcement of local transmissions of the Delta variant, the DOH emphasized the need to ensure active case finding, aggressive contact tracing, increased risk-based and targeted testing, and the immediate isolation/quarantine of suspect/probable cases and close contacts.

The health department advises the public to strictly adhere to the minimum public health standards, have themselves inoculated, and complete their vaccine doses as scheduled.

Longer curfew hours in NCR amid COVID-19 Delta variant threat — MMDA

Maris Federez   •   July 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Manila Council shall impose longer curfew hours anew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting Sunday (July 25) in the National Capital Region (NCR).

This was announced by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) after the capital region was once again placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.

As provided for in MMDA Resolution No. 21-13, the 17 Metro Manila mayors have agreed to adjust the curfew hours from the previous 12 midnight to 4 in the morning.

This is due to the increase in the number of COVID 19 cases in Metro Manila and to control the further transmission of the Delta variant, the MMDA said.

“While the Metro Manila Council recognizes the imperative to gradually and cautiously open the economy in order to increase business activities, reduce unemployment and underemployment, and promote economic growth, it is equally mindful of the paramount interests of life and health and the strict implementation of the prevent, detect, isolate, treat, and reintegrate strategies,” the resolution stated.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos further said that the COVID-19 Delta variant is highly contagious with an R Naught (R0) or reproduction rate of 5 to 8 “that may potentially trigger an exponential surge and local transmission in densely populated areas like the NCR.”

“We need to limit the movement of the public through the imposition of longer curfew hours. Since the Delta variant spreads exponentially, we should not let our guards down and implement necessary restrictions to contain the virus,” Abalos added.

On July 23, Metro Manila was placed under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions until July 31.

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