Sending off, meeting of passengers inside NAIA banned for now amid COVID-19 threat – MIAA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2020   •   2509

MANILA, Philippines – The sending off and meeting of passengers inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals will temporarily be prohibited amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said.

In a statement issued Sunday, MIAA said non-passengers and non-airport employees will not be allowed to enter the premises of NAIA terminals for now as part of the government efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“The Manila International Airport Authority temporarily bans entry of non-passengers and non-airport personnel into the NAIA airport terminals,” MIAA said.

“Effective immediately, sending-off and meeting passengers inside the NAIA terminals will not be allowed. The move is to further the efforts of government to contain the spread of COVID-19,” it added.

In a separate statement, airport authorities also called on passengers of international flights not to proceed to the airport unless they have ticketed reservations or confirmed bookings on a certain flight.

MIAA noted that a big number of passengers with unconfirmed bookings still proceed to the airport to take their chances on boarding a flight.

“This considerable number of chance passengers causes overcrowding inside the airport terminals and goes against the social distancing measures being implemented by the government in its efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

Metro Manila is currently under a 30-day community quarantine period as government tries to combat the spread of the virus.

During the quarantine period, all land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila is suspended, subject to the daily review of the government.

But cargo flights, air ambulance and medical supplies, government/military flights, weather mitigation flights and maintenance and utility flights may continue with their operations.

All general aviation flights will also be diverted to the Clark International Airport and Sangley Airport as no flights are allowed within the quarantined zone.

As for international flights, special airport-to-airport trips arranged by the airlines, in coordination with airport authorities shall be allowed. Passengers are advised to observe at least one-meter radius distance from others.

MIAA said security officers manning the gates have been instructed to double-check the airline ticket of each passenger entering the terminals and only allow entry to those with ticketed reservations.

DOH logs 3,962 new cases in confirmed COVID-19 list

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reports that the total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases is now at 283,460 as of 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 19, 2020.

This, after 3,962 newly-confirmed cases were added to the list.

The DOH likewise announced 1,128 recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 209,885.

The health department’s latest bulletin showed that of the 3,962 reported cases today, 3,286 (83%) occurred within the recent 14 days (September 6 – September 19, 2020).

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were the NCR with 1,199 (36%), Region 4A with 780 (24%) and Region 3 with 446 (14%).

Of the 100 deaths, 66 occurred in September (66%), 16 in August (16%) 7 in July (7%) 4 in June (4%) and 7 in April (7%).  

Twenty-seven (27) duplicates were removed from the total case count. Of these, 15 were recovered cases, the report added. Another patient who recovered was verified to be a foreign national and was also removed from the total case count.

On the other hand, 17 cases which were previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths after final validation.

The department further reported that 10 laboratories were not able to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System (CDRS) on September 18, 2020. These laboratories are:

  1. Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center
  2. Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital
  3. Kaiser Medical Center Inc.
  4. Lanao del Norte Covid-19 Testing Laboratory
  5. Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (GX)
  6. Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (RT-PCR)
  7. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  8. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics
  9. Taguig City Molecular Laboratory
  10. Valenzuela Hope Molecular Laboratory

The DOH said the numbers they receive undergo constant cleaning and validation. — /mbmf

CDC reverses earlier COVID-19 guidance that said asymptomatic people may not need testing

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday (US Eastern Time) reversed its controversial coronavirus testing guidance that said people who were exposed to an infected person but weren’t showing any symptoms “do not necessarily need a test.”

The new guidance says that people who have been in close contact with an infected person and do not have symptoms “need a test.”

“Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the CDC says.

The agency defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of a person with a confirmed COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes.

The CDC guidance reversal followed criticisms from public health specialists on the agency’s change in testing guidance in August that seemed to downplay the significance of testing people who don’t have symptoms but could be spreading the virus.

The new guidance also advised people who are waiting for their test results to “self-quarantine/isolate at home and stay separated from household members to the extent possible and use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.”

The CDC also reiterated its recommendations to follow “measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and to protect people at increased risk of severe illness:  social distancing, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, avoiding crowds, avoiding indoor crowded spaces, and washing or sanitizing hands frequently.” —/mbmf

One-meter physical distancing will be observed in public transport — Duterte

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has decided that the one-meter distance between passengers in public transport must be observed, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced Saturday.

“Mananatili po ang one-meter distancing sa pampublikong transportasyon,” Roque said through state-run PTV4.

He added though that talking inside public transport vehicles is still not allowed and that the minimum health protocol such as wearing of face masks and face shields shall remain.

“Sasamahan din ng pagsuot ng face mask at face shield,” he said.  “Bawal ang magsalita sa mga pampublikong transportasyon.”

The Palace spokesperson said the president made the decision on Friday night amid opposing opinions of medical experts on the matter..

The Department of Transportation has allowed the public transport system in the country to implement a “reduced physical distancing” policy starting Monday, September 14.

From the previous one-meter physical distancing marker between passengers, it was reduced to .75-meter safe distance.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) said it approved the proposal to provide service to the increasing number of passengers brought about by the reopening of more businesses.

The proposal provide for a further reduction of physical distancing to 0.5 meters after two weeks, and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks.

Read: DOTr reduces physical distancing markers in public transport

A panel of doctors has expressed support for the gradual reduction of physical distancing inside public transportation vehicles.

The medical experts, which include former Department of Health Secretaries Manuel Dayrit and Esperanza Cabral, said that while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends keeping a distance of one meter from other passengers to the extent possible, “it allows for adjustments based on context.”

Read: Group of medical experts back reduced distancing policy in public transport

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, however, said the DOTr released the operational guidelines on reduced physical distancing in public transport without consulting health experts and the Metro Manila local government units. — /mbmf

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