LRT-2 stops manual ticket selling to curb spread of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020   •   261

MANILA, Philippines – Following the spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection among personnel of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the management of Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) has decided to stop manual ticket dispensing in all its stations. 

This is to prevent physical contact and COVID-19 transmission among ticket sellers and commuters.

Instead, all LRT-2 passengers will have to use the ticket vending machines to acquire a ticket.

According to LRTA Spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera, manual ticket selling is not part of LRT-2’s plan upon the resumption of their operations on June 1 but the full use of their ticket vending machines.

“What we did is we start with small stations, This is what is happening now. Talagang lahat na ng istasyon, maliit o malaki, ticket vending machines na ang ginagamit natin wala nang selling sa teller [In all stations, we use ticket vending machines already and no tellers anymore],” Cabrera.

But the LRTA clarified that while the ticket sellers were unloaded of their ticket selling functions, they may still provide passenger assistance such as help for senior citizens and technical problems with ticket dispensing among other concerns.

All single journey tickets will be disinfected before they return to circulation, according to Cabrera.

At the end of the day kapag nakolekta na namin lahat ng single journey ticket dadalhin namin sa depot and then ika-quarantine namin sila for 72 hours,” Cabrera said.

[At the end of the day once we collected all single-journey tickets, we will bring them to the Depot for quarantine for 72 hours.]

By that time, based sa study ay patay na yung virus, saka palang namin sila irere encode and then ibabalik ulit sa sikulasyon,” he added.

[By that time, based on the study that the virus is eliminated, that’s the time we will re-encode and bring them back to circulation.]

At present, LRT-2 has recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel and undergoing quarantine. 

Both patients were office-based and no exposures to passengers. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

QC boosts contact-tracing efforts, deploys additional COVID-19 tracers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 13, 2020

The Quezon City Local Government has boosted its contact-tracing efforts by opening satellite offices and deploying more contact-tracers.

To intensify the monitoring of suspected, probable, and confirmed cases in barangays, the city opened satellite contact-tracing offices in Districts 3 and 6, while four more satellite offices will be set up.

“Our goal is to stop the virus right in its track. We continuously modify and improve our strategies to make sure we slow the virus transmission within the city,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

The local government also formed 90 teams of field and phone contact tracers with additional 300 barangay contact tracers and 30 personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP). The city’s total number of contact-tracers is around 600. -AAC

FDA approves Chinese drug Lian Hua Qing Wen for mild COVID-19

Maris Federez   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a traditional Chinese drug for the treatment of mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

According to the Certificate of Product Registration released by the FDA, Lian Hua Qing Wen “has been found to conform with the requirements and standards for marketing authorization for pharmaceutical products per existing regulations in force as of date hereof.”

Lian Hua Qing Wen, produced by traditional Chinese medicine manufacturer Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., was approved for use in the Philippines last Friday (August 7).

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said the approval was a welcome development for them as “this marks an important progress in the entry of TCM products into the Philippine market.”

The statement added that the said medicine is an approved COVID-19 treatment for mild and moderate cases in China.

The embassy added that the drug has also been approved in Hong Kong, Macau, Brazil, Indonesia, Canada, Mozambique, Romania, Thailand, Ecuador, Singapore, and Laos.

“It is our sincere hope that its entrance into the Philippine market will contribute to the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in this country and help the patients with mild and moderate symptoms recover,” it added.

The embassy, however, advised consumers to purchase and consume authentic traditional Chinese medicine only.

The Embassy also hopes that “TCM would play a bigger role to support the efforts of the Philippine government and its people to fight against COVID-19 until the final victory.” — /mbmf

Immigration personnel with COVID-19 reach 46, says BI chief

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday reported that 46 of its employees have tested positive for novel coronavirus disease.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that of the 46 personnel infected with the virus, nine have already recovered while 37 are still housed in government-accredited quarantine facilities.

Half of those who contracted the virus are currently assigned at the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila while the rest are stationed in other places such as the international airports in Pasay and Cebu, and the bureau’s satellite and extension offices in Metro Manila, and elsewhere nationwide, he added.

“The good news is that, so far, none of our employees have succumbed to the virus,” Morente said in a statement.

He also said that only one of the bureau’s employees with confirmed COVID-19 infection is presently confined and recovering in a hospital.

The BI Chief also said that the bureau had 93 suspected COVID-19 cases among its workers but half of them were already cleared of the virus after undergoing home quarantine.

Morente said the public should not be surprised that some BI employees were infected by the virus.

“We are one of the few government agencies whose personnel render frontline services, not only in our offices, but in the ports of entry as well. It is unavoidable that some of our employees do come in contact or are exposed to persons who are carriers of this virus,” he said.

The bureau earlier announced that it scaled down operations as Metro Manila and other areas reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine.

However, it assured that its online appointment system remains open to foreigners who are scheduled to leave the country during the community quarantine period.

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