Gov’t eyes ‘no home quarantine’ policy for COVID-19 positive cases across PH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 8, 2020   •   247

MANILA, Philippines – The National Task Force against COVID-19 is eyeing to ban home quarantine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) positive individuals. 

This is to prevent viral transmission among family members and among members of the community.

Based on existing protocol, home quarantine is allowed for mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases provided that they stay isolated in one room and has exclusive access to a toilet.

But NITF Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año are studying the possibility of adopting the no home quarantine policy for COVID-19 positive cases to be implemented across the country.

This policy is being implemented in Valenzuela City and Bulacan and helped minimized COVID-19 transmission among family members. 

Mahirap magkaroon ng home quarantine [Home quarantine is risky],” Galvez said.

“So talagang ang isolation phase natin is very agressive tsaka absolute na lahat ng positive kailangan i-isolate natin kasi nakita natin kahit mayayaman po naghome quarantine nahahawa po kanilang kamag anak [Our isolation phase is very aggressive and absolute that all positive cases must be isolated because we observed that even among wealthy families, children may get infected],” he added.

The official also noted the big drop in number of infection in Central Luzon, CALABARZON and Metro Manila since patients were transferred from their homes to government isolation facilities, particularly in Navotas CIty and the municipality of Pateros.

Noong tinaggal po natin ang home quarantine sa area na iyon, talagang nakita natin bumababa ng napakalaki ang kaso sa area na iyon [When we restricted home quarantine in that area, the number of cases indeed reduced],” Galvez said.

Kung talagang magkakaroon tayo ng aggressive isolation ng mga positive cases at maihihiwalay natin iyan sa community, malaki po ang tsansa na talagang bababa, hindi lang mag-flatten ang curve kundi bababa po ang ating cases into single digit number[If we are to push for aggressive isolation of positive cases and isolate them from the community, there is a big chance that the cases will drop. We will not only flatten the curve but our cases will go down to a single digit],” he added.

In a statament, Secretary Año said that the NITF is eyeing to implement the new policy anytime this week with exemptions on elder persons whose condition might be more at risk when transferred.

Año said the no home quarantine policy “will be for the good, for the sake of the family members” of COVID-19 patients.

The official added that it is the Department of Health (DOH) and the City Regional Surveillance Unit (CESU) who will be responsible to assess if the patient qualifies for exemption. 

Galvez and Año will express this recommendation to the Inter-Agency Task Force and once approved, they will immediately issue a Joint Memorandum Circular between the DOH and the Department of the Interior and Local Government for its implementation. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Filipinos split over the accuracy of government statistics on COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2020

The recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed Filipinos have mixed opinions on the accuracy of government statistics on Covid-19 positives and deaths.

The SWS September 17-20, 2020 National Mobile Phone Survey showed 39% of adult Filipinos say the numbers are more than the real number; 23% say the numbers are accurate, while 31% believe the numbers are less than the real number.

Filipno adults are also split over the accuracy of COVID-19 death reports: 34% say the record is over-reported, 27% say it is right, while 34% say it is under-reported.

“Also, those who consider the reported number of Covid-19 deaths to be probably under-reported are highest in Metro Manila (46%), followed by Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao (35% each),” according to the SWS.

The SWS survey was a probability-based survey conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing of 1,249 adult Filipinos, 18 years old and above, nationwide. AAC


Expect surge in COVID-19 cases as test results from over 30 labs are delayed – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) sees a surge in the number of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the coming days as over 30 laboratories in the country are still yet to submit their respective cases bulletin to the agency. 

The DOH said 34 out of the 115 licensed testing laboratories have delayed results in their COVID-19 tests. 

“This means there are confirmed cases per day that have not been reported yet officially and will come out this week,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We may have an irregularly high number of cases in the coming days as cases from these laboratories get reported. We will ensure to highlight which of these cases are late reports,” she added.

The DOH points at incomplete information such as patients’ address and contact number as the cause of the delays in submitting their case bulletins. 

Such information is vital to the contract tracing efforts of the government. 

On September 1, the DOH required the testing laboratories to encode all information of their patients because the agency’s COVID-19 Data Repository System does not accept incomplete information.

“The main factor was the change in or the additional two variables–the complete address and the phone numbers that were stated to be mandatory,” Vergeire said.

“Hindi makakapasok or makaka-upload sa system noong kanilang submission if hindi kumpleto ang kanilang fields doon sa kanilang CIFs na isa-submit sa atin [They will not be able to enter or upload their submission into our system if the fields in the CIFs are incomplete],” she stressed.

Nonetheless, the official confirmed that the results have been gradually coming in from the concerned laboratories since Tuesday (September 8).

Once the results from these laboratories are submitted, expect an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the DOH’s overall tally.

Should these laboratories still fail to submit their reports next week, Vergeire said the DOH will push to sanction them. 

34 Labs failed to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System 

1. AL Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

2. Amosup Seamen’s Hospital

3. Bohol Containerized PCR Laboratory

4. Butuan Medical Center

5. Cagayan Valley CHD TB Reference Laboratory

6. Calamba Medical Center

7. Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital

8. Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Memorial Hospital

9. Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center

10. Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory

11. Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center

12. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center

13. Green City Medical Center

14. Hi-Precision Diagnostics  QC

15. Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center (GX)

16. Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

17. Marilao Medical and Diagnostic Clinic

18. NKTI – GX

19. Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory

20. Philippine Heart Center

21. Philippine Red Cross

22. Philippine Red Cross – Clark Mol Lab (PAMPANGA)

23. Philippine Red Cross – Logistics and Training- SUBIC, ZAMBALES

24. Philippine Red Cross – Molecular Biology Laboratory

25. Philippine Red Cross – PLMC Laboratory

26. Philippine Red Cross – Port Area

27. Qualimed Hospital – San Jose del Monte

28. Qualimed Hospital Sta. Rosa

29. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics

30. San Lazaro Hospital

31. San Miguel Foundation Testing Laboratory

32. The Doctors Hospital, Inc.

33. Tondo Medical Center

34. University of Perpetual Help System Dalta


MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

25 overseas Filipinos add to PH tally of COVID-19 cases — DFA

Marje Pelayo   •   August 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday (August 18) reported 25 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among Filipino nationals abroad.

However, the agency was pleased to announce that no new COVID-19 fatalities were reported and 16 new recoveries were recorded among overseas Filipinos specifically in the Middle East, Africa and the Asia and the Pacific.

To date, the DFA said, the Middle East remains to be the region with the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad, including daily new cases, recoveries, under treatment, and fatalities.

In comparison, the Asia-Pacific region records the lowest numbers in all categories, except in the total number of recoveries, where the Americas rank last with only 454 recoveries, the agency said.


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