Macron extends France’s lockdown until May 11

UNTV News   •   April 14, 2020   •   570

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday (April 13) announced he was extending a virtual lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak until May 11, adding that progress had been made but the battle not yet won.

Following Italy in extending the lockdown but announcing no immediate easing of restrictive measures as in Spain, Macron said the tense situation in hospitals in Paris and eastern France meant there could be no let-up in the country.

Since March 17, France’s 67 million people have been ordered to stay at home except to buy food, go to work, seek medical care or get some exercise on their own. The lockdown was originally scheduled to end on Tuesday.

Schools and shops would progressively reopen on May 11, Macron said. But restaurants, hotels, cafes and cinemas would have to remain shut longer, he added. International arrivals from non-European countries will remain prohibited until further notice.

Macron, whose government has faced criticism over a shortage of face masks and testing kits, said that by May 11, France would be able to test anyone presenting COVID-19 symptoms and give nonprofessional face masks to the public.

Macron also said he had asked his government to present this week new financial aid for families and students in need.

The French, long accustomed to being told their high taxes paid for the “best healthcare in the world,” have been dismayed by the rationing of critical drugs, face masks and equipment and have watched with envy the situation in neighbouring Germany.

After a relentless increase until the first week of April, the number of patients in French hospitals’ intensive care units has started to decline, prompting health authorities to call a plateau in the epidemic.

But if French hospitals are just about coping, helped by a massive effort to transfer patients by plane, helicopter or even high-speed train from hospitals in the east and Paris to the west, nursing homes have been overwhelmed.

By Monday, the coronavirus had claimed 14,967 lives in France, the fourth-highest death toll in the world, with more than 98,076 confirmed cases, according to official figures. (Reuters)

(Production: Johnny Cotton)

Senate panel to conduct hearing on timing of Cha-Cha talks amid coronavirus pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments is set to conduct a hearing this week to discuss the timing of efforts to push for Charter Change anew amid the coronavirus pandemic, panel chairperson Senator Francis Pangilinan said on Monday.

In a statement, Pangilinan said the hearing, which is scheduled on Wednesday, January 27, will consult representatives from sectors affected by the proposed amendments.

Among the resource persons who have confirmed their attendance to the hearing are 1987 Constitution Framers Florangel Rosario Braid, Atty. Christian Monsod, and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide.

Also attending the hearing are Priest Ranhilio Aquino, former Supreme Court Justice Vicente Mendoza, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, and Department of Justice Chief State Counsel George Ortha II.

Pangilinan said the hearing will tackle procedural concerns and “prejudicial questions” that need to be considered relative to the proposed Charter change.

“Una, given Covid and ‘yung ating krisis sa ekonomiya, napapanahon ba mag-Charter Change? Pangalawa, kung napapanahon ang Charter change, ito ba ay dapat con-ass [constitutional assembly] o con-con [constitutional convention]? Tapos pangatlo, kung con-con, e ‘di maliwanag yung eleksyon, kailan?” he said.

“Kung con-ass naman, mayroon pang isang isyu na hanggang ngayon hindi pa nareresolba: Ito ba ay dapat voting jointly ang Senate at House. Ibig sabihin ay 300 plus senators and congressmen sabay boboto ng three-fourths vote? O three-fourths vote separately, ibig sabihin three-fourths vote ang Senate, at three-fourths vote ng House,” he added.

The hearing will discuss Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald Dela Rosa’s RBH No. 2, as well as Senator Richard Gordon’s Senate Joint Resolution No. 1.

QC orders stricter measures in quarantine hotels amid reports of COVID-19 UK variant in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 25, 2021

QUEZON, Philippines—The Quezon City government said it will impose stricter measures in quarantine hotels amid reports that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) UK variant has taken root in several parts of the country.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said there is a need to double the city’s efforts in preventing the spread of the new variant. She said there will be stricter protocols in hotels serving as quarantine facilities for returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

“Now that the DOH confirmed the presence of the new strain in several places of the country, the more we need to double our efforts in preventing the spread of the virus,” she said.

Belmonte reiterated that returning OFWs should follow government-mandated quarantine period, especially if they came from countries with confirmed reports of the COVID-19 variant.

The Quezon City government will also intensify its inspection of hotels and other establishments to ensure health and safety protocols are followed.

Meanwhile, Belmonte reported that Quezon City currently has zero case of the Covid-19 variant after the city’s first index case already recovered. The male resident was already allowed to go home yesterday afternoon, a day after he tested negative for the virus. AAC

DFA Consular Office in General Santos City closed until Jan. 26

Marje Pelayo   •   January 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informs the public that its Consular Office in General Santos City will be temporarily closed on Monday (January 25).

This is to give way to disinfection activities in its office premises and the implementation of other preventive measures to manage risks against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Consular Office will resume its regular operations on Tuesday (January 26).

Affected applicants with confirmed appointments who are unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations must secure another appointment by emailing gensan.rco@dfa.gov.ph with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Original appointment date and time
  • Preferred date and time of new appointment

The preferred new appointment may be on any working day from Monday to Friday from January 26 to February 26 during the CO’s regular operation hours 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Applicants that need emergency or urgent Consular services may contact CO General Santos by email at gensan.rco@dfa.gov.ph.

The DFA requests the public’s understanding and cooperation as we continue to battle against this pandemic.

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