PH gov’t to meet with funeral, crematory services to discuss handling of COVID-19 deceased

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2020   •   493

MANILA, Philippines – Officials from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) are set to meet with local government units, and funeral and crematory services in Metro Manila on Thursday.

MMDA spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago said the meeting will discuss logistical problems and other concerns in handling the remains of patients who died from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Pialago said they will also tackle the crafting of guidelines for collecting, transporting, and proper disposition of COVID-19 fatalities from hospitals.

Recommendations, suggestions, and identified limitations in managing COVID-19 dead bodies will also be discussed in the meeting, she added.

She, however, clarified that the MMDA will only act as a coordinating agency among local government units, hospitals, and crematory services to address problems, including protocols in handling patients who died in their residence, and delays in the release of death certificates.

“We will try to bridge the gap with LGUs, hospitals and crematory services, tayo ay magsisilbing coordinating agency dahil nakaka-encounter po ng iba’t-ibang problema ang mga local government at mga hospital kagaya po ng delayed release ng death certificate,” Pialago said during a press briefing.

The DILG earlier directed LGUs to ensure that the remains of deceased COVID-19 patients are buried or cremated within 12 hours after their death.

The department emphasized that the remains of persons who died of communicable diseases such as COVID-19 are highly infectious and standard precautions should be implemented in every case.

“Kaya dapat siguruhin ng mga local governments na may nakatalagang funeral parlor at crematorium sa kanilang lugar na mamamahala sa mga labi ng namatay sa Covid-19,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said.

The DILG issued the reminder following reports that some local government units are refusing entry in their localities to cadavers of COVID-19 cases for burial and cremation purposes.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) also expressed worry over reports that some funeral services are failing to retrieve the cadavers of COVID-19 patients, which results in the pile up of dead bodies in hospital morgues in Metro Manila.

“We have to honor yung 12-hour rule for cremation, wag na nating isipin lahat ng papeles kung anu-ano pa,” IATF spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a press briefing Wednesday.

He encouraged LGUs to report to the DILG the funeral and crematory services that are not cooperating with authorities amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“Sumbong agad kayong LGU sa DILG dahil may mga utos na po si Pangulo sa DILG, at para sa mga nasa negosyong ito na funeral, sundin na lang ninyo ang sinasabi ng DILG at LGU,” Nograles said.

The DILG and the MMDA target to release on Friday, April 17 the final guidelines on the disposition of COVID-19 dead bodies. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Shoppers pack street in Divisoria Market amid COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Marketgoers still trooped to Divisoria in Manila on Monday despite appeals from authorities to limit their movement and observe strict health protocols amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a report in UNTV’s Ito Ang Balita by Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr., people packed Ilaya street in Divisoria where stalls were put up by the city government, not mindful of tarpaulins reminding shoppers to follow social distancing and other protocols.

Shopper Romer Camus admitted to having apprehensions at first in going to Divisoria but said he only had this time to buy some stuff in line with the upcoming holiday season.

November 30, Bonifacio Day, is a non-working holiday in the country.

“Natatakot at first pero naka-face shield naman kami, naka-face mask po. Tapos, yun nga po wala ng proper distancing po. Yun lang kasi kailangan talaga naming mamimili po. Tapos, bukas may pasok na rin kami,” he said.

Local authorities in Manila have been appealing to marketgoers to practice social distancing and to avoid conglomerating in a space.

However, they admitted to having difficulty in enforcing the protocols when the crowding of people becomes uncontrollable.

“Lagi naman ho namin silang pinapaalalahanan na magsuot ng face mask, face shield, at social distancing po. Yun nga po, hindi namin sila mapigilan,” said Manuel Villanueva, a barangay officer in Manila.

During the holiday season, many Filipinos go to Divisoria to buy goods that are sold at affordable prices. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

1,773 new COVID-19 cases reported on Nov. 30

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 30, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 1,773 COVID-19 cases, 44 recoveries and 18 deaths as of November 30, 4:00 p.m.

The total number of cases already reached 431,630; of which, 24,580 are active.

The number of total recoveries increased to 398,658; while the death toll reached 8,392.

Based on records, 7 duplicates were removed from the total case count where 4 patients are recorded to have already recovered.

Meanwhile, the DOH said there is no need to implement a Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) this holiday season.

However, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III agrees with the report of the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research that there is a slight surge in COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks.

“Hindi naman kailangan mangangahulugan mag-MECQ itong lalo na ngayong darating na holiday season mismo. Nguni’t tama iyong sinabi ng OCTA na mayroon ngang sa ngayon bahagyang tumataas ang kaso dito sa NCR (There is no need for an MECQ this coming holiday. Although [UP-OCTA- is right about the slight increase of [COVID-19] cases in the National Capital Region)” he said.

Duque said the surge in cases might have been due to the crowded evacuation centers during the typhoon.

He also said the GCQ implementation is already enough but further easing the quarantine restrictions would probably increase the risk for the public. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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COVID-19 health rules in events a must but hard to enforce at times, Galvez admits

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. on Monday stressed the importance of enforcing physical distancing and other health protocols at events amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he admitted that there are times when physical distancing is difficult to impose when the crowding of people becomes uncontrollable during public events and other instances.

“I believe in some instances, like in evacuation areas and also in some programs, we cannot really dictate the situation because sometimes, the people tend to conglomerate and to really crowd themselves,” he said in a media interview.

Galvez made the remark after events attended by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Senator Manny Pacquiao were criticized for allegedly breaching health protocols.

Roque was spotted addressing a large crowd in Cebu last Friday while Pacquiao distributed relief goods to calamity-hit families in Batangas. Physical distancing was allegedly not observed in both events.

Galvez said that at times like this, they remind the people to follow health protocols prescribed by authorities to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

“We are trying to really indicate and advise our people to be very careful and observe minimum health standards,” he said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said a fact-finding initiative will be launched into the events attended by Roque and Pacquiao for alleged violations of health protocols vs COVID-19. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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