Placing Phl Orthopedic Center under lockdown, not an option — DOH

Maris Federez   •   July 28, 2020   •   821

MANILA, Philippines — The number of healthcare workers (HCW) at the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) who are infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now at 114, according to the hospital’s official statement.

The POC administration said 80 of these HCWs are active cases and the hospital is now having difficulties in finding quarantine facilities for them.

The POC added that the 20% allocated beds at the hospital are not enough to accommodate the healthcare workers and other patients who are positive for COVID-19.

However, the Department of Health (DOH) said that despite this situation, closing the hospital or placing it under total lockdown is not an option as many patients will be affected.

The DOH said they are still in talks as to which facilities will the mild and asymptomatic HCWs be sent.

Those who are positive can be admitted at the POC itself.

“We do this strategically. We close down units of the hospitals if needed kung talagang may mga highly infected employees dyan or ‘di kaya maraming nangyaring decontamination so that we can decontaminate. But not closing the whole hospital,” DOH spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Meanwhile, Vergeire said epidemiologic analysts believe that there are still no bases to declare that the country is already experiencing the second wave of COVID-19.

“As to the second wave nag-aaral tayo pero wala tayong nade-declare na ganito hindi parin nakikita yan na mayroon tayong ganyan. We will be continuing studying our situation,” the health official said.

She added the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is still yet to ascertain whether the National Capital Region (NCR) will be reverted to modified enhance community quarantine status.

“The other parameters that are being utilized by the IATF in deciding. So, we have the case doubling time, the mortality doubling time, we also have the critical care utilization rate. Aside from that, we have other indicators to consider the other sectors of society, like there are economic indicators, there are social indicators, and there are security indicators as well,” Vergeire said.

The President is expected to announce at the end of the month his decision as to which quarantine restrictions will be applied in key cities and provinces nationwide. — (with details from Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Clinical trials on COVID vax for minors ongoing; no vaccine rollout yet for children in PH — PPS

Marje Pelayo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) confirmed that there are cases of COVID-19 among the country’s younger population.

However, no severe cases of COVID-19 among children have been recorded yet as the disease mostly affects the older age groups.

Though minors are considered low-risk, they still have to get vaccinated, according to a pediatric group.

“Kahit paano tinatamaan pa rin sila. Hindi naman natin masasabi kung sinong bata ang tatamaan at sino ang hindi. At least, protektado sila,” said Dr. Maria Karmela Kasala, spokesperson of the Philippine Pediatric Society.

Kasala said there are vaccines for minors that are under clinical trials in other countries.

“Other vaccine companies are also doing their own trials for these younger children. We have to wait for the results of those trials, at kapag nareview at na-evaluate na ng ating mga vaccine experts itong mga bagong studies sa mga kabataan. Kung nararapat sa ating (nakababatang) populasyon ay gagawan ng paraan para maipasok na sa priority vaccine rollout,” Kasala said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently allowed the emergency use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines for minors aged 12 to 15.

Meanwhile, China has also allowed the use Sinovac’s CoronaVac on children as young as three years old.

As for the Philippines, there is no approval yet from the government to inoculate the younger population with  available COVID-19 vaccines.

“Pero wala pang polisiya kung paano natin i-ro-rollout ang mga bakuna para dito sa mga edad na ito,” Kasala said.

She added that clinical trials on COVID-19 vaccines are ongoing around the world, but no results have been published yet.

“Ang ating mga bakuna, ang lahat ay naka-EUA pa sa buong mundo. In normal times, hindi pa iyan papayagang maibenta kasi kailangan ng certificate of product registration, at nakaraan sa clinical trial phase 4,” Kasala explained.

“Hindi na tayo umabot sa Phase 4 dahil nasa emergency pandemic tayo globally,” she said.

Gyms, fitness studios to reopen at 30% capacity beginning June 16

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the reopening of gyms, fitness studios, and other indoor non-contact sports venues in the  National Capital Region (NCR) Plus.

In a statement issued on Friday (June 11), the IATF announced that it has released Resolution No. 120 which allows the reopening of fitness studios, gyms, skating rinks, and racket sports courts at 30% capacity beginning June 16.

“Such venues are strongly encouraged to allow their regular members with recurring monthly subscription who opt not to avail of the services, to suspend their memberships for the duration of their limited opening,” the resolution reads.

The said establishments, however, would still need to secure safety seal certification before reopening. Minimum health standards should also be observed which includes wearing of face masks, strict physical distancing, and proper ventilation. AAC

Gov’t allows fully vaccinated senior citizens in GCQ, MGCQ areas to go out

Marje Pelayo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday (June 11) confirmed that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is allowing senior citizens who have received two doses of vaccine against COVID-19 to leave their homes.

During the DOH regular press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the new policy only covers fully vaccinated senior citizens in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

“Pinapayagan na po ng ating gobyerno na makalabas na ang ating senior citizens sa June 16 na fully vaccinated, iyon pong may dalawang doses ng bakuna dito sa COVID-19,” Vergerie said.

The official advises, however, that despite eased restrictions on the movement of the elderly, they must still observe the minimum health and safety protocols.

“Nanawagan tayo sa mga senior citizen na maari na kayong lumabas pero kailangan lang na nakasuot pa rin kayo ng face mask at face shield. Huwag pupunta sa matataong lugar especially in enclosed spaces,” Vergeire said.

The official stressed that those fully vaccinated senior citizens in areas with higher quarantine restrictions must still stay at home.


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