Tokyo could declare new emergency if coronavirus worsens

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020   •   3495

Tokyo could declare a state of emergency if the coronavirus situation in the Japanese capital deteriorates further, its governor warned on Friday (July 31).

Yuriko Koike said Tokyo had confirmed 463 new cases on Friday – another single-day record – and implored residents to follow health guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.

“If the situation worsens, Tokyo would have to think about issuing its own state of emergency,” Koike told a news conference.

The Japanese government lifted the nationwide state of emergency in late May after Japan appeared to have contained the outbreak, touting its mask-wearing habits and health system as some of the factors that helped it fare better than Europe and the United States.

But the virus has made a worrying resurgence. The number of daily new cases in Japan hit a new record on Thursday (July 30), with infections spreading rapidly not only in Tokyo but also in other regions. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai)

International pact may be needed to standardize COVID-19 vaccination cards – Roque

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – An international agreement standardizing the use of COVID-19 vaccination certificates may be needed to easily verify its authenticity, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

Roque made the suggestion after the country’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) shortened the quarantine period to seven days for Filipinos returning overseas who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the Philippines.

“Ang problema po kasi, wala pa po tayong kasunduan sa buong daigdig kung pano natin mabi-verify yung authenticity ng mga vaccination card sa buong daigdig,” he said in a ceremony for the vaccination of economic frontliners.

“Ang personal kong pananaw… baka kinakailangan magkaroon ng isang international na kasunduan kung dapat magkaroon ng standard na vaccination certificate ng sa ganun hindi po problema ang pag-authenticate kung totoo o peke yung vaccination card,” he added.

Last Friday, the IATF approved the new guidelines on inbound international travel to any point of the Philippines for all fully vaccinated individuals who received their doses in the Philippines.

The IATF said an individual shall be considered as having been fully vaccinated two or more weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2-dose series, or two or more weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine

A fully vaccinated individual must carry his or her vaccination card, which must be verified prior to departure. The vaccination card must be presented to a Bureau of Quarantine representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation (DOTr) One-Stop Shop upon arrival in the Philippines.

After completing the 7-day facility-based quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a Quarantine Certificate indicating the individual’s vaccination status, the task force said.

Roque assured that the task force will continue to discuss protocols for travelers entering the Philippines, as well as suggestions to ease restrictions for individuals who have already completed their COVID-19 vaccine doses. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

 

PH will need 60M more vaccine doses if children will be included in COVID-19 immunization program – Galvez

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will have to procure more COVID-19 vaccine doses should the country include children in its national immunization program, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday.

Galvez explained that the government will need at least 60 million vaccine shots to cover the younger population.

“Ang nakikita namin dito, mayroon tayong tinatawag na pediatric vaccination, may 39 million po tayo na population diyan. At iyan po ay ginawa po namin, ang implication niyan, we need to buy more vaccine, more or less 60 million,” he said.

The vaccine czar issued the remark when asked about China’s approval to use Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine on children aged between three and 17.

The Department of Health, for its part, said it is open to using Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine on children, adding that Philippine health experts will study this once the drug firm submits a revision of its vaccine’s emergency use authority (EUA).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, however, said the possible inclusion of children in the government’s vaccination program will not change the prioritization framework.

The national government is currently vaccinating individuals belonging to the priority sectors of healthcare workers, senior citizens, persons with underlying medical condition, and essential workers.

“All of these are a welcome development. Basta iyong prioritization sunod pa rin tayo,” Duque said.

Aside from Sinovac, pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Moderna are also preparing to seek EUA for their COVID-19 vaccines to be used on children.

The government is hoping to inoculate up to 70 million people against COVID-19 this year.

Deployment of NCR health workers to regions with high COVID cases under assessment – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is still studying the possibility of sending healthcare workers from the National Capital Region (NCR) to other areas with high COVID-19 cases.

In an online press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said hospitals in the NCR are still under moderate risk level despite declining cases of COVID-19.

“Ito pong healthcare workers, atin pong ina-assess kasi alam naman po natin, kailangan nating balansehin because the National Capital Region also is trying to balance yung pagkawala o pagbaba ng kaso pero hindi pa rin ho ganun kaluwag ang ating mga ospital. Nasa moderate risk level pa rin po ang ating mga ospital,” Vergeire said.

Based on the latest bulletin from the DOH, the occupancy rate in the NCR’s intensive care units (ICU) remain at 49 percent while isolation beds are 39 percent.

She said deploying NCR health workers to other regions is still being assessed depending on the COVID-19 situation and capacity of hospitals in other regions.

Based on their monitoring, Vergeire said that 25 percent of COVID-19 cases in the country are reported from Mindanao, 20 percent from Visayas, 13 percent from Metro Manila, and 40 percent from the rest of Luzon.

“Isa yan sa mga strategies na pwede nating gawin. Sa ngayon ang ginagawa natin, minamapa natin, we are trying to assess the different capacities of our regions, especially our hospitals in regions where there are high number of cases,” Vergeire said.

The health official said the DOH has sent medicines and other medical supplies to hospitals outside the NCR.

“Titingnan natin kung ano ang mga kakulangan nila. Actually, nakapagpadala na tayo ng mga kagamitan, mga PPEs, mga gamot at saka yung mga pondo po, inihahanda na rin para maibigay sa ating mga hospital na nangangailangan sa ngayon,” she said.

“Pag tayo po ay nagkaroon ng hudyat para makapagpadala ng additional personnel, titingnan po natin kung saan sila pwedeng i-source out para mabalanse rin natin at hindi naman magkaroon ng kakulangan dito sa Metro Manila,: she added.

The DOH earlier noted a rise in COVID-19 cases in other regions due to increased community transmission.

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