NTF clarifies flights from Hong Kong still allowed in Phl amid Omicron variant threat

Maris Federez   •   November 29, 2021   •   345

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 on Sunday (November 28) clarified that Hong Kong flights will still be allowed into the country amid threats of the new coronavirus disease variant.

The NTF clarified that “the inclusion of Hong Kong flights as part of inbound international flights temporarily suspended due to the emergence of the Omicron variant is not yet final.

The NTF said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has not made any formal announcement on the matter as of date.

“We await the formal announcement from the IATF following a final recommendation from the Technical Working Group on COVID-19 Variants and from other agencies,” the NTF added.

The task force further said that the government will work “to ensure timely adoption of preemptive measures to prevent or delay the entry of new variants which have the potential for undermining public health.”

The NTF assured that until the IATF issues a formal announcement, Hong Kong flights will still be allowed entry to the country. —/mbmf

‘No vax, no ride’ policy ipatutupad sa MRT-3 simula Enero 17

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

Simula Lunes, Enero 17, ay ipatutupad na ng pamunuan ng Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy.

Ibig sabihin, tanging mga pasaherong fully vaccinated kontra COVID-19 ang pahihintulutang makasakay ng tren, matapos makapagprisinta ng kanilang vaccination card at isang valid o government-issued ID sa security marshal sa istasyon.

“Masasabing fully vaccinated ang isang pasahero laban sa COVID-19 dalawang linggo matapos niyang tumanggap ng kanyang ikalawang dose ng bakuna para sa 2-dose vaccine, o isang dose kung single-dose vaccine,” ayon sa MRT-3.

Ito ay sang-ayon sa kautusan ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) na may layuning protektahan ang kalusugan ng mga pasahero ng tren.

Ayon sa MRT-3, hindi kasama sa “no vaccination, no ride” policy ang mga sumusunod:

• Mga pasaherong may medical condition kung kaya’t hindi makapagpabakuna. Kailangang magpakita ng duly-signed medical certicate na may ngalan at detalye ng doktor sa security marshal.
• Mga taong kukuha o bibili ng essential goods tula ng pagkain, gamot, tubig, medical and dental necessities, public utilities, at iba pa. Kailangang magpakita ng nararapat na dokumentasyon o patunay sa security marshal.

Paalala ng MRT-3, mahigpit pa ring ipinatutupad ang COVID-19 health and safety protocols sa buong linya, gaya ng pagbabawal kumain, uminom, makipag-usap sa telepono, at magsalita sa loob ng mga tren.

Mahigpit ding ipinatutupad ang pagsusuot ng face mask samantalang boluntaryo ang pagsusuot ng face shield.

Ang no vaccination, no ride/no entry sa MRT-3 ay epektibo hangga’t nasa Alert Level 3 pataas ang COVID-19 alert level status ng Metro Manila.

DepEd says class suspensions due to COVID-19 surge up to regionals, school divisions

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday said it is allowing its regional and school division offices to suspend classes and other teaching-related activities amid the steep increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

In a memorandum, the DepEd said its regional offices (RO) and school division offices (SDO) may exercise discretion in suspending classes and other activities based on their assessment of the health status of teachers and learners, and the IATF risk classification.

“Given the varying health situations in different areas, the ROs/SDOs are given the option, based on their reliable assessment of the health status of their teachers and learners and the IATF risk classification, to declare the suspension of classes within the month of January 2022,” the agency said.

“The ROs/SDOs shall decide on the specific dates and number of days for the suspension of classes as long as the period of class suspension does not exceed 2 weeks in order to avoid a prolonged disruption in the current school calendar,” it added.

The DepEd said that during the suspension of classes, “all synchronous and asynchronous classes will be put on hold while submission of academic requirements and conduct of other teaching-related activities must be moved to a later date.”

“For late submission of requirements, accommodations must be afforded for those with valid reasons,” it added.

Regional offices and school division offices should also make necessary adjustments in the school calendar to ensure that the number of schools days in the current school year remains in accordance with Republic Act (RA) 11480, which amends Section 3 of RA 7797 or An Act to lengthen the school calendar from 200 days to not more than 220 class days.

Furthermore, the department reminded schools to adhere to its policy on academic ease “to ensure flexibility in the teaching-learning process amid the pandemic by recalibrating the strategy of assigning teaching responsibilities and learning activities in order to safeguard the well-being of both teachers and learners.”

Meanwhile, private schools, in consultation with their respective parents’ associations, may exercise their own discretion relative to the suspension of classes and K to 12 learning activities when COVID-19 risks in their respective areas are high, the DepEd said.

Omicron variant, ‘mild’ kumpara sa Delta variant pero hindi dapat balewalain – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 11, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Nanawagan ang Department of Health (DOH) sa publiko na manatiling alerto huwag balewalain ang pagkalat ng Omicron at Delta variants sa Pilipinas.

Ayon kay Infectious Disease Expert at DOH Technical Advisory Group member, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, hindi dapat ikonsiderang mild disease lang ang maidudulot ng Omicron variant kahit hindi ito kasing agresibo ng Delta.

“We’re not calling Omicron mild. It is milder than Delta. Delta is 3 times more likely to land you in hospital compared to omicron but omicron can still land you in hospital,” ani Salvaña.

Paliwanag ng eksperto, mas mabilis kumalat o makahawa ang Omicron kumpara sa Delta variant batay sa incubation period nito. May 30 mutations rin ang Omicron sa spike protein kumpara sa orihinal na coronavirus at maaaring makapasok sa selyula ng tao.

“For Omicron, it’s about 3 days and if you consider that people are already contagious 1-2 days before they are symptomatic, for Omicron you are almost contagious just a little over 24 hours, so it is very, very difficult to contain something like that,” paliwanag ni Salvaña.

Ayon naman kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, kaunti lang ang naitatalang severe cases ng COVID-19 sa Metro Manila sa kabila ng pagtaas ng mga kaso.

Ito ay dahil aniya sa malawak na vaccination coverage at hindi dahil sa pagiging mild ng Omicron kumpara sa Delta.

“Even though it’s mild kapag tumama sa vulnerable na populasyon maaari pa rin silang magkaroon ng severe infections kaya kailangan lang po talagang na maintindihan natin that the vaccines have protected us and it is showing us that it can protect us,” dagdag pa ni Vergeire.

Samanjtala, ayon naman kay IATF Data Analytics Expert Group member Dr. John Wong, dapat mapaatas ang vaccination coverage ng Visayas at Mindanao region para hindi malala ang maging epekto ng Omicron sa kanila.

Katunayan aniya nasa 35% pa lang vaccination rate sa mga nasa labas ng Metro Manila kung ikukumpara sa 75% na vaccination rate sa rehiyon

“Before the surge arises in other areas we have to vaccinate them at a very high level,” ani Wong.

Maliban sa Omicron ay patuloy ring kumakalat sa bansa ang Delta variant, kaya panawagan ng DOH sa publiko na patuloy na sumunod sa health protocols at magpaturok ng bakuna o booster ang eligible population. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

 

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