PH detects COVID-19 UK variant

Maris Federez   •   January 13, 2021   •   794

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) officially confirmed the detection of the B.1.1.7. SARS-CoV-2 variant (UK variant) in the country.

This, after samples from a Filipino who arrived from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 7 yielded positive genome sequencing results, according to a DOH press release Wednesday (January 13) following strengthened biosurveillance and border control efforts of the two agencies.

The advisory said the patient is a male resident of Quezon City who departed for Dubai on December 27, 2020 for business purposes and arrived in the Philippines last January 7, 2021 via Emirates Flight No. EK 332.

After the positive was released, the patient was referred to a quarantine facility in Quezon City while his samples were sent to PGC for whole genome sequencing.

He was also accompanied by his female partner during his trip, but she tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 upon arrival. She, however, is currently under strict quarantine and monitoring.

The DOH said the two had no exposure to a confirmed case prior to their departure to Dubai nor had any travel activities outside Quezon City.

The health department immediately conducted contact tracing, in close coordination with the QC government. Contact tracers reported that the initially identified contacts are asymptomatic and currently under strict home quarantine.

The DOH said that they are continually working closely with the QC LGU to ensure that timely and effective measures are in place to mitigate transmission.

The agency has also secured the flight manifest of Emirates Flight No. EK 332 and contact tracing of other passengers is now underway.

Health authorities advise those who were aboard the said flight to get in touch with their Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs).

Meanwhile, the health department said that it will intensify the weekly genomic biosurveillance among incoming passengers, local cases, re-infected patients, and those with reported clustering of cases.

The DOH said it has also coordinated with the Department of Interior and Local Government for the expansion of contact tracing to include third-generation close contacts for known B.1.1.7 cases. All close contacts of confirmed B.1.1.7 cases shall also undergo strict 14-day facility-based quarantine, the advisory said.

The DOH is reiterating its call to national government agencies, local government units and the public for stricter observance of the minimum public health standards and stricter implementation of quarantine protocols to further mitigate the risk of acquiring the virus and slow down possible mutations.

Pagbabakuna sa A4 group sa ilang LGU, tigil muna dahil sa limitadong vaccine supply – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Pansamantalang itinigil ng ilang local government unit (LGU) ang pagbabakuna para sa mga indibidwal na sakop ng A4 priority group dahil sa kakulangan sa supply ng COVID-19 vaccine.

Ayon sa Department of Health (DOH), sa susunod na linggo pa inaasahang maide-deploy sa mga LGU ang karagdagang bakuna na darating sa bansa ngayong linggo.

Ang vaccine supply na para sa A4 sector ay binibili ng pamahalaan mula sa vaccine manufacturers at hindi mula sa COVAX Facility.

Batay sa panuntunan ng pamahalaan, para lamang sa A1, A2 at A3 sectors ang mga bakunang mula sa COVAX Facility.

“So nararanasan po natin ito na pagtigil sa pagbabakuna dahil na rin sa ating limitadong supply. Yung ating dumating na bakuna noong nakarang linggo ay in progress na ng delivery at itong pong linggong ito, bukas ay may dadating din po tayong karagdagang bakuna at ito po ide-deploy kaagad sa ating mga vaccination centers,” ani Dr. Napoleon Arevalo, Director IV ng DOH.

“In fact meron tayong mga timelines na ito ay dapat binibigay kaagad natin once the country receives it to our local governments and ang dictum po natin once they received the vaccine,” dagdag pa niya.

Noong Lunes pormal na sinimulan ang pagbabakuna sa A4 sector na kinabibilangan ng economic frontline workers.

Tinatayang 20 milyon hanggang 30 milyon ang kabilang sa economic frontliners. Mahigit sa 29,000 sa mga ito ang nakatanggap na ng first dose habang nasa 6,269 ang fully vaccinated na.

Ayon kay Arevalo, may natanggap rin silang ulat na may ilang lugar sa National Capital Region (NCR) Plus 8 ang nagsuspindi ng pagbabakuna dahil kaunti lang ang natanggap nilang supply kahit mabilis ang kanilang vaccine rollout.

“To handle, to store and inoculate the vaccines. Kapag mabilis kayong magbakuna talagang mapapabilis din po ang pag-allocate. Importante din po na ang ating A1, 2 and 3 are still our priority habang binabakunahan natin yung A4,” ani Arevalo.

At dahil hindi pa rin sapat ang supply ng bakuna sa ngayon, nakatuon pa lang ang pagbabakakuna sa mga lugar na may mataas ang kaso gaya sa Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Metro Cebu at Metro Davao, na tinatawag na NCR Plus 8.

Mabibigyan naman aniya ang ibang mga lugar kapag dumating na ang iba pang supply ng COVID-19 vaccine sa bansa ngayong Hunyo

“Kailangan maubos iyong kanilang mga bakuna lalo na iyong frist doses, kailangan ma- check din nila ang pagbabakuna ng kanilang second doses kaya kung may mga natitira pa these are for the second doses,” ang pahayag ni Arevalo.

“Inaasahan natin ngayong Hunyo may dadating na bakuna na tinatayang 10 million doses sana po ay maidagdag na po natin ito sa ating mga A4 segment of the population,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa kasalukyang 6.3 milyon na COVID-19 vaccines na ang naiturok sa mga Pilipinong nasa A1 hanggang A4 sector; 1.6 milyon naman dito ang nakakumpleto na ng kanilang COVID-19 shot. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PH posts 5,462 new COVID-19 infections; active cases at 54K

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 5,462 new cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), pushing the total tally to 1,286,217.

In its latest bulletin, the Department of Health (DOH) said the number of active cases in the country is at 54,000.

Of these cases, 92.6 percent are mild, 3.0 percent are asymptomatic, 1.22 percent are moderate, 1.8 percent are severe, and 1.4 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH noted in its report that eight accredited testing laboratories failed to submit data on time.

The DOH also announced 7,854 more patients who have recovered from the viral respiratory disease, bringing the total recoveries to 1,210,027.

The number of COVID-related deaths climbed to 22,190 with 126 new fatalities.

The DOH also reported the positivity rate of 12.6 percent out of 39,788 tests conducted last June 7.

Government data showed that 58 percent of the country’s ICU beds are occupied while patients are utilizing 38 percent of the ventilators.

In the National Capital Region, 53 percent of ICU beds are in use while 35 percent of ventilators are also being utilized.

Davao City not a new epicenter for COVID-19 amid case surge – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said that the term “epicenter” should not be used to describe Davao City amid the surge of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH discourages the use of the term in describing the rise of cases in a certain area as epidemic epicenters are “interpreted by some to refer to an area as the source of the infection.”

“It is also meant to connote the area as a hotspot for the infection. We discourage the use of the term ‘epicenter’ in describing the rise of cases in an area,” Vergeire said in a statement.

“These areas are not the origin of the COVID-19 virus. Moreover, using the term ‘epicenter’ detracts from other surrounding areas which may be equally or more affected by COVID-19,” she added.

“Considering this, no, Davao City is not an epicenter,” she further stated.

The DOH issued the statement after a fellow from the OCTA Research Group said Davao City has surpassed Quezon City in terms of having the highest average of daily fresh COVID-19 cases. OCTA noted that Davao City recorded an average of 213 new COVID-19 cases, higher than the 207 cases from Quezon City.

Davao City is currently under modified enhanced community quarantine due to rising coronavirus infections in the area.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation in Davao City due to increasing cases,” the DOH said.

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