Philippines COVID-19 cases soar to 2,084; death toll at 88

Marje Pelayo   •   March 31, 2020   •   1200

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday (March 31) that the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country has hit a record high at 2,084.

A total of 538 new cases were recorded on Tuesday, the highest increase reported so far since the outbreak began in January.

The country’s death toll from the deadly respiratory disease is now at 88, with 10 additional fatalities.

Only seven patients recovered on Tuesday, the DOH said, bringing the total number of recoveries to 49.

As of Monday (March 30), a total of 15,337 tests have been conducted in all seven major testing laboratories across the country.

Top 10 Cities with highest number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines (As of 1:00p.m. March 31):

  • Quezon City            130
  • San Juan City          64
  • Manila 55
  • Pasig City     49
  • Makati City                                 47
  • Davao City                                  40
  • Mandaluyong City                    29
  • Taguig City                                 29
  • Parañaque City                          26
  • Cainta, Rizal                               15

SOURCE: Department of Health

PNP intensifies crackdown vs fake COVID-19 test kits, other medical supplies

Robie de Guzman   •   January 26, 2022


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday said it will intensify its intelligence networking following the seizure of P150 million worth of fake COVID-19 antigen tests, face masks, and medicines used to treat COVID-19 symptoms in a warehouse in Manila.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said he has directed all police units to further monitor stores and warehouses in their areas of responsibility that are selling and stockpiling unregistered medical supplies.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday reported it confiscated thousands of Clungene COVID-19 antigen test kits, counterfeit LianHua Chinese herbal medicines, and fake 3M N95 face masks during a raid in a warehouse in San Miguel last January 21.

Authorities also found intellectual property rights infringed goods such as apparel from brands like Nike, Fila, Converse, Adidas, as well as Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags, wallets, phone accessories, and others. A Chinese national, who allegedly owns the facility, was arrested during the operation.

“We want to know the extent of their operation given the large number of confiscated items,” Carlos said.

“If these products did not undergo government agencies regulation, then we aren’t sure if they are safe for use,” he added.

The PNP chief vowed to take a more aggressive step in curbing the proliferation of these products, with the guidance of the Department of Health.

“The PNP will wage a crackdown to curb the proliferation of these fake medical items,” Carlos said.

The public is advised to only buy medical items from accredited pharmacies and other related outlets.

Unvaxxed, partially vaxxed NCR workers allowed to use public transport for 30 days

Robie de Guzman   •   January 26, 2022

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated employees in industries and establishments allowed to operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be allowed to ride public transport for 30 days, starting January 26.

In a joint statement, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the decision was reached during their meeting last Friday, January 21, after considering the vaccination coverage in the capital region.

“Within the 30-day window, partially vaccinated workers are still allowed to board public transportation,” the statement read.

“However, since partially unvaccinated individuals are still at risk given that they do not have complete protection against the virus as clarified by the Health Department, they are also not allowed to use public transportation if vaccination remains incomplete within the 30-day window,” it added.

The DOTr is implementing a “no vaccination, no ride” policy in public transportation vehicles while the NCR is under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and up. The NCR and other areas with high infection rates have been placed under Alert Level 3 until January 31.

DOTr Undersecretary for Administrative Service and official representative to the IATF Artemio Tuazon Jr. said that 30 days following the announcement of the new protocol, only workers in the NCR who are fully vaccinated are allowed to use public transportation.

Fully vaccinated refers to those who have completed the 2-dose primary series vaccination such as for the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, or Moderna brands; or the one-dose vaccination such as for the Janssen brand.

Tuazon added that the joint decision made by the DOLE, DILG, and the DOTr supports the government’s ongoing thrust to ramp up vaccination efforts, especially amid the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“This joint decision is also meant to support the vaccination drive of the entire government,” he said.

“We want our workers to get fully vaccinated especially now that there is no longer a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, and there is a threat of highly transmissible variants of the virus. We are giving our workers the time to get themselves vaccinated,” he added.

The DOTr official also maintained that the “no vaccination, no ride” policy is not discriminatory.

“As jointly decided by the DOLE, DILG, and DOTr, workers who will remain unvaccinated 30 days after the announcement are not being barred from their workplaces. They are simply not allowed to use public transportation, but can still use other means such as active transport, private vehicles, or company shuttle services,” said Tuazon.

DOH reiterates recommendation to double mask

Maris Federez   •   January 26, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) once again stressed the importance of taking extra effort to ensure one’s protection and safety against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DOH Spokesperson Usec Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department is encouraging the use of double face masks to maximize the filtration of particulate matter.

“Mag-double mask upang ma-maximize ang protection at ang filtration. Atin din pong siguraduhin na hindi po maluwag at tama ang fit ng mask na ating susuotin,” Vergeire said.

Vergeire said air particles or viruses are tightly filtered if the face mask being worn is thick and is securely fit to cover the nose and the mouth.

Health officials also said that they still do not recommend the use of cloth masks alone.

“Iyong cloth, definately, ay dapat palitan ng surgical mask. Kung kaya pwede mag-doble ng surgical mask. At kung ikaw ay nagwo-work sa mga enclosed areas or iyong mga high-risk setting, iyong mga kausap mo ay talagang positive like sa mga laboratory or clinic maganda iyon KN-95,” said Dr. Ted Herbosa, a medical adviser of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19.

Infectious disease expert Doctor Rontgene Solante said that if one wants to use a cloth mask, it must be worn on top of a surgical mask for a secured fit.

“Even a surgical mask is still okay. Iyong cloth mask pwedeng doblehin lang with a surgical mask para lang karagdagang proteksyon. Pero ang importante dito ay wearing it consistently and wearing it properly,” Solante said.

Solante added that while N-95 masks ensure more protection against viruses, due to limited supply, health workers must be given priority in using them as they are the ones directly in contact in taking care of COVID-19 patients.

“Kung gagamit man tayo ng KN-95 o N-95 baka mahirapan tayo sa supply. Itong mga mask na ito ay napaka-importante nito sa mga healthcare workers o healthcare facilities,” the health expert said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)



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