Some senators opt out of COVID-19 testing

UNTV News   •   March 20, 2020   •   803

Senate of the Philippines facade

Although Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri has announced he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic, some senators have opted not to undergo a COVID-19 test.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan have decided not to go through COVID-19 testing, saying they are not manifesting any symptoms and are strictly following protocols given by the DOH.

Some of their co-lawmakers have already taken the test including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino and the first two senators who initiated to undergo self-quarantine, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay.

Senator Christoper Bong Go has also undergone COVID-19 testing with President Rodrigo Duterte who came out negative. — by Harlene Delgado

Roque reiterates Sinovac-PH agreement already ‘binding obligation’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

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)

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Roque: Listen to vaccine experts, not social media influencers

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday (January 18) advised the public to trust experts and not social media influencers regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

During a press briefing, Roque said it is wrong to compare vaccines to detergent soap which is an apparent reply to a tweet of comedian Vice Ganda.

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).

QC gov’t to launch KyusiPass app to boost contact tracing efforts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Government is set to launch KyusiPass application to boost its contact tracing efforts.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said the contact tracing app can help the city keep track of who is visiting establishments within its jurisdiction.

“Currently, our businesses are requiring their guests to fill-up health declaration forms. Through our KyusiPass, they will just tap their QR code onto the scanner and their information, including their name and mobile number, will automatically be sent to our servers handled by our City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU),” she said.

Belmonte said each individual with a valid mobile number who is residing, working, or doing business in Quezon City is required to get a personal QR code. They can register by signing up on the SafePass website, SafePass Facebook chatbot, and through SMS.

Meanwhile, CESU head Dr. Rolly Cruz assures app users that their data will remain private and protected.

“Our QCitizens have nothing to worry about because their data will be protected and secured. Only us in CESU can access their information, and only if we need to trace the contacts of a ‘positive’ visitor from a specific establishment,” he noted. AAC

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