Man in Tacloban City quarantined for novel coronavirus infection

Marje Pelayo   •   January 24, 2020   •   2021

Philippine Marines rush to shore during an amphibious landing exercise with United States counterparts on a beach on the coast of the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales Province, northwest of Manila, Philippines, 09 May 2018. The Philippines-US Balikatan (Shoulder to Shoulder) Military Exercise is on its 34th iteration, which is aimed to enhance interoperability between security forces of the two countries. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – A 36-year-old male patient in Tacloban City is now under observation for potential signs of novel coronavirus, the Department of Health (DOH) revealed Friday (January 24).

The patient, who traveled from Wuhan, China, showed symptoms of nCov upon his arrival in the Philippines on January 17.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, however, clarified that it is still too early to conclude that the man is infected with novel coronavirus.

The DOH is keeping a list of all individuals from China who sought medical tests relative to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Among them is a two-year-old toddler from Aklan.

The DOH clarified, however, that the toddler showed symptoms not worse than an ordinary flu.

Meanwhile, the DOH said they are expecting the release of the confirmatory test on the patients’ blood samples by next week.

The samples are now being tested at the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia, including that of the 6-year-old Chinese boy in Cebu who was first to be observed for nCoV infection.

At present, the World Health Organization (WHO) is not yet considering the situation a global health emergency.

Also, the Philippines is still technically free of novel coronavirus pending the confirmatory tests from Australia.

Nonetheless, Health offices across the country remain on alert against possible entry of the nCoV given the Philippines’ proximity to China.

Authorities are warning the public to refrain from travelling to China and always wear masks especially airport personnel as they are the first to have contact with arriving passengers from other countries. MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Air quality in Beijing improves due to coronavirus lockdown

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

As the whole world is struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic, one of the unexpected outcomes for Chinese people is more clean skies.

China had a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide pollution in cities like Beijing during February, when factories and streets were closed as authorities attempted to stop the spread of the virus, according to the European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus satellite image.

Analysis by Greenpeace shows that the pollutant emissions in Beijing and its surrounding areas dropped by more than 40% year-on-year in February.

Compared to previous years, the air in the capital has seen a big improvement during the outbreak. Streets and landmarks are no longer covered in smog.

Beijing resident Liu Chuan takes this as a potential health benefit, saying that he could even see stars at night after work.

“It feels like the air is overall much less polluted than it used to be. It also improves people’s mood, and indirectly strengthens the immunity. It’s good for fighting the virus,” added Liu.

However, expert warns the air pollution and carbon emissions may soon reappear as Chinese factories are ramping up output in an effort to offset the economic hit of coronavirus.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that it may cause air pollution frequently if a large scale of high-polluting industries resume production,” said Lyn Liu, a Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner. (Reuters)

(Production: Irene Wang, Shubing Wang, Joyce Zhou, Natalie Thomas)

China advises foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing

UNTV News   •   April 3, 2020

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying

China’s foreign ministry is advising foreign diplomats to stop coming to Beijing, after the country temporarily banned most foreigners from entering to prevent a resurgence of a coronavirus epidemic, a spokeswoman said on Friday (April 3).

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a daily briefing that the ministry was aware of confirmed coronavirus cases among foreign diplomats in China.

Mainland China reported 31 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 29 of which were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Friday.

The total number of infections now stands at 81,620 and 3,322 deaths have been reported from mainland China to date. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Irene Wang)

Healthcare workers may now get tested for COVID-19 as ‘vulnerable group’ — DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   April 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has established a protocol requiring all healthcare workers to undergo tests for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) despite exhibiting mild symptoms.

According to the DOH, healthcare workers belong to the ‘vulnerable’ group whose conditions need primary attention.

Since the fight against COVID-19 started in January, a number of doctors, nurses, hospitals and laboratory staffers have fallen ill, some have died, due to exposure to COVID-19.

Based on DOH’s previous policy on COVID-19 testing, workers belonging to the ‘vulnerable population’ should be prioritized but that included only senior citizens or the elderly with pre-existing medical conditions and those who are showing severe symptoms of the disease.

But following review of the policy on Tuesday (March 31), the DOH decided to include the healthcare workers to the vulnerable group.

“Kapag nagpunta sa isang health facility ang ating mga healthcare workers, dahil sila ay may sintomas o sila ay na- expose, kailangan po silang asikasuhin [Healthcare workers should be attended to once they show symptoms (of COVID-19) due to their exposure to the virus in a health facility where they work],” noted DOH Spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“Kailangan po silang i- test ng ating mga heathcare workers [We should test our healthcare workers],” she added.

The DOH is still collating information about healthcare workers or medical professionals across the country who have been affected by COVID-19.

Medical professionals who contracted the disease in line of duty will receive P100,000 insurance package each.

Meanwhile, relatives of medical front-liners who succumbed to COVID-19 will get P1-M financial assistance from the national government. MNP (with inputs from Aiko Miguel)

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