Inbound travelers positive for COVID-19 to undergo genome sequencing, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2021   •   1634

MANILA, Philippines – All travelers who test positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) upon arrival in the Philippines will be subjected to genome sequencing to check for the presence of new variants, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

The DOH announced the new directive after a 29-year old Filipino who traveled to Dubai in December tested positive for the more transmissible COVID-19 variant first reported in the United Kingdom.

“There was instruction already na lahat ng parating na pasahero basta’t positive atin na pong isu-isubject sa [genome] sequencing,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.

Genomic sequencing is a process that allows scientists to analyze and determine how a virus has mutated and to detect if it has the new variants based on the samples taken from coronavirus-infected patients.

Previously, authorities conducted random sequencing of the samples of inbound passengers who tested positive for COVID-19.

Amid the growing number of cases of new COVID-19 variants, the DOH said the government is strengthening its genomic biosurveillance as it is “not feasible” for the country to totally shut its borders.

“Our safeguard would be the biosurveillance that we will be doing and the strict protocols in our ports of entry,” Vergeire said.

She also pointed out that none of the other countries are implementing a total travel ban amid the reported spread of new coronavirus variants.

“Wala pa naman tayong move na ganyan sa ngayon na pinag-uusapan sa Inter- Agency Task Force… Kailangan lang natin maintindihan na iyon pong mga ibang mga countries na may variant, wala namang community transmission… But, of course, that would be part of something to be considered by the IATF in the coming days,” she said.

Malacañang has announced Friday that the government is extending for another two weeks that travel restrictions on foreign passengers coming from 32 countries. Filipinos coming from countries covered by the travel ban are still allowed to enter the Philippines but will be required to undergo quarantine for two weeks regardless of their COVID-19 test result. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Pharmally on Blue Ribbon hearing: ‘They treat us like criminals’

Maris Federez   •   October 22, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation on Friday issued a statement regarding the heavy scrutiny it is going through over its alleged questionable deals with the government on the procurement of pandemic supplies.

In a statement released to media, Pharmally corporate-secretary Mohit Dargani said that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has not been impartial in the way it handled the hearing on the said allegation.

“The Blue ribbon failed to treat us justly. Rather than impartially listening to us, they tried to get us to incriminate ourselves. They want us detained because we asserted our rights, they can’t get what they want to hear from us,” Dargani said.

Dargani also refuted claims that President Rodrigo Duterte had a hand in their deal with the government in supplying the country with face masks and face shields as part of the efforts to address the pandemic.

“Walang kinalaman ang Presidente sa transactions namin with PS-DBM (Procurement Service – Department of Budget and Management),” Dargani said.

Dargani further slammed the committee for what he claimed as false accusations.

“We are being falsely accused for political gain. Malapit na eleksyon and we are like hostages. Hindi na para sa bayan. But for their political survival,” the Pharmally official said.

“They treat us like criminals whose lives aren’t worthy of living anymore,” he added.

Dargani further said that Pharmally has been cooperating with the committee out of respect to them, but this, he stressed, “was completely out of harmony with accepted legal standards.”—/mbmf

Public urged to be more responsible when visiting leisure areas amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday reiterated its call on the public to be more responsible when visiting public and leisure areas amid the enforcement of COVID-19 Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila.

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar made the appeal following reports of individuals ignoring public health protocols while visiting the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach.

“Paulit-ulit ang ating paalala sa publiko na mahigpit na sumunod sa minimum health standards lalo na kung nasa pampublikong lugar o pasyalan gaya ng Dolomite Beach,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Nauunawaan ko ang kagustuhan ng ating mga kababayan na makalabas ng kanilang mga tahanan, subalit kung hindi tayo mag-iingat ay hindi malabong tumaas na naman ang kaso ng COVID-19 at mapilitan na naman ang gobyerno na maghigpit sa mga protocols,” he added.

The PNP chief said he has tasked concerned police offices and units to deply enough personnel to public areas to help the marshals in implementing safety standards and controlling the crowd.

“Inatasan ko na ang ating unit commanders na siguraduhin na sapat ang bilang ng ating kapulisan sa mga pampublikong lugar upang matiyak ang pagsunod sa minimum public health safety na siya din namang ipinapakiusap sa ating ng Department of Health,” Eleazar said.

He, however, reminded police officers to observe maximum tolerance, especially to those who will be caught violating the protocols.

The national government downgraded Metro Manila’s alert status to Level 3 amid the decrease in COVID-19 infections. This will be in effect until the end of October.

Under Alert Level 3, several establishments are allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals, and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Delta Plus sub-variant na nasa 27 bansa, 10% umanong mas nakakahawa kaysa original variant ayon sa ilang eksperto

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Mahigpit ngayong binabantayan ng health experts ang bagong klase ng Delta variant na AY.4.2 o ang tinatawag na Delta Plus.

Naitala ang variant na ito sa 27 bansa, kabilang na ang United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, Romania, Poland, Ireland, Denmark, at ilang bahagi ng Western Europe.

Hindi pa kasama sa ngayon ang Delta Plus sub-variant sa listahan ng variant of concern o variant of interest ng World Health Organization (WHO).

Pero babala ng mga eksperto, malaki ang posibilidad na mas nakakahawa ito kaysa sa orihinal na Delta variant dahil mayroon itong dalawang mutations sa spike genome.

Ibig sabihin, branch na ng Delta variant ang Delta Plus sub-variant at dalawang beses pa itong nag-mutate.

Sinasabing ang Delta Plus sub-variant ang isa sa mga dahilan ng muling pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa United Kingdom.

Sa ulat ng United Kingdom Health Security Agency, nakita ang lumalawak na kaso ng Delta Plus sub-variant sa England.

Sinasabi rin ng mga eksperto roon na 10 porsiyento itong mas nakakahawa kumpara sa parent variant nito na Delta variant (B.1.617.2).

Upang mapigilan ang posibleng pagpasok ng naturang sub-variant sa Pilipinas, sinabi ng mga otoridad na kailangan pang paigtingin ang border control.

Kailangan rin anilang matiyak na tuluyan nang mapuputol ang hawaan ng Delta variant sa bansa dahil lalong nagmu-mutate ang virus kapag patuloy na dumadami ang nahahawa nito.

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.