Philippines’ COVID-19 cases now at 462, with 33 deaths

Robie de Guzman   •   March 23, 2020   •   764

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday reported 82 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), bringing the country’s total number of infections to 462.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the number of fatalities also increased to 33 after recording eight new deaths, while the number of people who recovered from the disease has risen to 18.

The department earlier said that the sudden rise of coronavirus cases in the country is due to the laboratories’ increased testing capacity, conducting between 950 to 1,000 tests per day.

The DOH said the eight latest deaths are all Filipinos, age ranging from 54 to 89, with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension prior to contracting COVID-19.

The fatalities were identified as patients 281, 266, 279, 304, 328, 333, 367, and 349.

Meanwhile, the latest patient to recover from the disease is a 54-year old Filipino male from Manila who had a travel history to Thailand, and was exposed to known COVID-19 cases.

The DOH said he is hypertensive, and was confirmed to have contracted coronavirus on March 13, a few days after he first manifested symptoms on March 6.

He was discharged on March 21 after testing negative for the virus following treatment.

Since last week, the government has placed the entire Luzon island under enhanced community quarantine to arrest the spread of coronavirus.

Sen. Dela Rosa discharged from hospital after battling with COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa has been discharged from the hospital after a bout with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), his office said Friday.

In a message to reporters, his office said Dela Rosa will continue taking his medicines at home and will be placed under home quarantine as advised by his doctors.

His staff on Thursday said Dela Rosa was admitted to the hospital on Nov. 23 after developing fever, cough, and colds so that he could be monitored better, and that his condition is already improving.

The former Philippine National Police chief confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 21, after the Senate wrapped up the period of debates for the proposed 2021 budget.

Dela Rosa said he and three other members of his household contracted the virus.

Dela Rosa was the fifth senator to be infected with COVID-19 this year. His colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senators Sonny Angara, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla all recovered from the viral respiratory disease. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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Gov’t to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine procurement for early vaccine distribution—Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order to fast-track COVID-19 vaccine procurement for early vaccine distribution, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said the President has issued Executive Order (EO) No. 121 granting an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.

Based on the Executive Order, the President will grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to provide  Emergency Use Authorization for medicines for the treatment of COVID-19.

“Kung magkakaroon ng emergency use utilization, ang mga rehistrado sa mga foreign FDA na mga bakuna, mapapabilis po ang pag-issue ng authority to use it under EUA to 21 days. Normally po kung wala itong Executive Order na ito it will take as long as six months,” Roque said.

The Palace official added that the EUA will be good for the country as it will pave the way for ending the pandemic and the return to normalcy. AAC

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25 BPO employees tested positive for COVID-19 after holding two parties

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2020

Twenty-five Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) employees in Subic tested positive for COVID-19 after holding two parties in November.

According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Health and Safety Department Dr. Solomon Jacalne, out of the 65 employees of a BPO company that attended the two parties, 25 of them are currently under quarantine.

“Contact tracing indicated that the employees who tested positive of Covid-19 either attended the parties or were exposed to co-workers who went to the said social gatherings,” he said.

Jacalne said the employees attended a beach party in Olonggapo City and a pool party in Zambales. He also said several of the workers did not accurately declare their health condition which might also have contributed to the surge of COVID-19 cases.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the surge in cases would have been avoided if the employees followed the minimum health protocols.

“This was the lesson some employees of a business process outsourcing company here recently learned the hard way after attending parties that might have served as super-spreading events,” she added.

Eisma said the agency will conduct an investigation on the incident and will implement additional safety measures in work areas of the concerned company. AAC (with reports from Leslie Huidem)

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