PH Customs fast-tracks release of face mask shipments amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   February 14, 2020   •   1999

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday said it has expedited the processing of shipments containing face masks amid increasing demand for surgical masks and other personal protective gear in view of the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a statement, the BOC said that since the discovery of the COVID-19, the bureau has been rushing the release of shipments of face masks in a bid to help secure the public from the deadly coronavirus strain.

Data from the bureau showed that 210 cartons, 10 boxes, 5 packages, and 115 pieces of face/surgical masks were released from January to February 2020.

In Port of Davao, there were 210 cartons and 5 packages of face/surgical masks released in January 2020.

“Another 10 boxes and 115 pieces of face/surgical masks were also released on February 12, 2020 from the Port of NAIA,” the BOC said.

“The improved processing of importations of face masks is part of the Bureau’s commitment to serve public interest and provide them with immediate assistance and support as it continues to perform its mandate of facilitating trade, strengthening border protection and collecting revenues,” it added.

Roque advises public to trust vaccine experts, not influencers on social media

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday (January 18) advised the public to trust experts and not social media influencers regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

During a press briefing, Roque said it is wrong to compare vaccines to detergent soap which is an apparent reply to a tweet of comedian Vice Ganda.

Roque said there is less supply of vaccines compared to the supply of clothing detergents. He also reiterated that vaccine experts are more knowledgeable on which COVID-19 vaccines are better.

Nag-aagawan nga po tayo sa 18% na supply. Pangalawa, hindi lang naman po gagamitin para sa damit. Kaya nga po, hindi lang po isa, hindi lang po dalawa, kundi tatlong grupo pa ng mga eksperto ang magsusuri kung ang mga bakuna ay ligtas at epektibo (We are vying for 18% of [vaccine] supply. Secondly, it will not be used for clothing. Three groups of vaccine experts are reviewing which vaccines are safe and effective),” he said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz).

QC gov’t to launch KyusiPass app to boost contact tracing efforts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Government is set to launch KyusiPass application to boost its contact tracing efforts.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the contact tracing app can help the city keep track of who is visiting establishments within its jurisdiction.

“Currently, our businesses are requiring their guests to fill-up health declaration forms. Through our KyusiPass, they will just tap their QR code onto the scanner and their information, including their name and mobile number, will automatically be sent to our servers handled by our City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU),” she said.

Belmonte said each individual with a valid mobile number who is residing, working, or doing business in Quezon City is required to get a personal QR code. They can register by signing up on the SafePass website, SafePass Facebook chatbot, and through SMS.

Meanwhile, CESU head Dr. Rolly Cruz assures app users that their data will remain private and protected.

“Our QCitizens have nothing to worry about because their data will be protected and secured. Only us in CESU can access their information, and only if we need to trace the contacts of a ‘positive’ visitor from a specific establishment,” he noted. AAC

Quezon City gov’t readies 10 initial COVID-19 vaccination sites

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government is readying the 10 initial locations where inoculation of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to its constituents will be held.

The designated areas for vaccination are as follows:

  1. Project 6 Tennis Court (District 1)
  2. Batasan Hills National High School (District 2)
  3. NGC Covered Court (District 2)
  4. Aguinaldo Elementary School (District 3)
  5. Dona Josefa Jara Martinez High School (District 4)
  6. Diosdado Macapagal Elementary School (District 4)
  7. Kaligayahan Activity Center (District 5)
  8. Fairview Covered Court (District 5)
  9. Emilio Jacinto Elementary School (District 6)
  10. Culiat High School (District 6)

“Pinili natin ang mga lugar na ito para madaling puntahan ng mga residente ng anim na distrito ng ating siyudad,” said Mayor Joy Belmonte.

“Nagsimula na tayong magtalaga ng vaccination sites para handa na tayo oras na dumating ang bakuna. We have to plan ahead to assure our people that we are doing everything to make these vaccines available as soon as possible,” she added.

Belmonte said the city government is targeting to establish 24 sites, in addition to the three city-run hospitals – QC General Hospital, Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital and Novaliches District Hospital.

City Health Department head Dr. Esperanza Arias said they have already identified the other vaccination sites but these are still being evaluated to comply with Department of Health (DOH) standards.

“The vaccination site must have unidirectional workflow or one entry and one exit, comfort rooms and ample space for free movement of staff and observance of minimum health standards,” said Dr. Arias.

Arias added that a standby generator set, an ambulance and presence of Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) personnel are also required, among others.

”For every site, the QC government will designate 22 employees composed of physicians, marshals, vaccinators, counselors, and admin staff,” Arias said.

The city government earlier entered into a tripartite agreement with the AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Philippines and the national government for the delivery of 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

The vaccines are expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2021.

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