Quezon City gov’t, Congress to work closely to Batasan COVID-19 cases
Robie de Guzman • December 1, 2020 • 223
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government and the House of Representatives have agreed to work closely to control and manage the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the lower chamber.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday said House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco have committed to provide the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU) with a copy of the reported COVID-19 cases in Congress for contact tracing purposes.
To assist the House of Representatives, the city government will dispatch its mobile testing UNIT that will administer PCR swab test to its employees.
Velasco previously instructed the team in-charge to prepare a comprehensive report on the results of the mass COVID-19 testing conducted in Congress and submit it immediately to the city government.
Before Congress resumed session in November, Velasco initiated the COVID testing in the lower chamber.
“We wanted to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the Batasan Complex – House Members, employees, and even guests— while the legislative chamber carries out its constitutional duties in these critical times,” he said.
The city government earlier learned that the Lower House recorded 28 Covid-19 cases.
“Contact tracing is important so we can isolate possible carriers and to protect communities,” Belmonte said.
MANILA, Philippines — Several Senators seek a third hearing to further discuss the national government’s COVID-19 vaccine plan.
The Senate Committee of the Whole may call for another public hearing on the government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Senator Franklin Drilon, in a statement, said the two-day inquiry left more questions than answers.
“There are still a number of issues hanging. These too many unanswered questions raise grave concerns, for the survival of the country largely depends on our ability to implement a successful vaccination program against the COVID-19 virus,” he said.
Drilon noted that the pricing, the sourcing of the vaccines, the delivery schedules, and the logistical support plan are several of the urgent questions needed to be answered.
“We did not get any definite answers to these serious questions. I believe another round of hearing is in order. I support the call of Sen. Panfilo Lacson for more hearings,” he added. –AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday (January 18) reiterated that the vaccine deal between the Philippines and Sinovac is a ‘binding obligation’.
This was contrary to the statement of the Department of Finance (DOF) that the term sheet signed by the Philippines and China regarding Sinovac vaccines is not yet a done deal.
According to the DOF, the Philippines can still back out from the deal should Sinovac fails to comply with the regulatory process of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Roque said that the second obligation in the contract is the procurement of the vaccines which is subject to one of the conditions agreed upon by the parties, and that is the approval of the FDA.
“Kontrata na po yan, kaya nga lang po, yun pangalawang obligasyon, at ito po ang pagbibili ay naka-subject po sa condition na pinag-agreehan ng mga Partido. […] But that is already a binding obligation,” Roque said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rontgene Solante, a member of the vaccine experts panel of the government said the efficacy rate is not the only basis to prove that a vaccine is effective.
“Ang isa sa pinaka-importante na parameters sa isang bakuna, kapag nabakunahan ka, ma-prevent mo ba ang severe disease over mild. If this vaccine can prevent severe disease, then I would choose given that 50% efficacy rate niya,” he said.
Around 50,000 Sinovac vaccines are set to arrive by February. They will be given to health workers once the FDA approves its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
Roque said there is less supply of vaccines compared to the supply of clothing detergents. He also reiterated that vaccine experts are more knowledgeable on which COVID-19 vaccines are better.
“Nag-aagawan nga po tayo sa 18% na supply. Pangalawa, hindi lang naman po gagamitin para sa damit. Kaya nga po, hindi lang po isa, hindi lang po dalawa, kundi tatlong grupo pa ng mga eksperto ang magsusuri kung ang mga bakuna ay ligtas at epektibo (We are vying for 18% of [vaccine] supply. Secondly, it will not be used for clothing. Three groups of vaccine experts are reviewing which vaccines are safe and effective),” he said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz).
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