Tokyo could declare new emergency if coronavirus worsens

UNTV News   •   July 31, 2020   •   695

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)

Mayor Isko discourages public from visiting Manila Bay Sands area amid pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Monday called on the public to refrain from visiting the Manila Bay Sands area amid the continuing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Domagoso made the appeal after incidents of overcrowding during the opening of the Manila Bay Sands over the weekend.

A number of people who wanted to get a peek of the beach during its opening failed to observe physical distancing and many were seen not wearing face mask and face shield.

While understanding the excitement of the people for the project, Domagoso said the public should keep in mind that the threat of COVID-19 is still present.

“Alam ko po marami sa inyo nasisiyahan, nagagalak sapagkat ito’y kakaibang pangyayari. ‘Yong imposible naging posible. Ngunit, paalala ko pa rin na meron pang pandemya. Mayroong pa pong pangamba, panganib sa lungsod ng Maynila,” Mayor Isko said.

Moreno said that since the project has yet to be completed, the area will be closed to the public.

He also asked the city police to ramp up the security in the Manila Bay Sands and to stop people from staying or taking photos and videos of the area.

According to Manila Police Station 5 officer-in-charge Lt. Col. Alex Daniel, they have barricaded the entry points and posted at least 20 policemen to guard the area 24/7.

“Sa ngayong kino-close po natin itong lugar kung saan may proyekto po itong sa white sand so katulad kahapon medyo nalabag po sa ngayon iniiwasan po natin sa ngayon na magkaroon ulit ng ganun so may ginagawa po tayong guildelines sa pagbubukas po ulit nitong proyekto na ito para maayos po natin sa mga susunod na araw kung magbubukas po,” Daniel said.

Ermita Police station commander Police Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan has been relieved from his post following the local police’s failure to maintain social distancing measures during the event.

Physical distancing is among the health protocols being implemented by authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Duterte orders gov’t agencies to produce, distribute free face masks to poor Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has directed several government agencies to coordinate and pool their resources for the production and distribution of face masks amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under Memorandum Order No. 49 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and issued Wednesday, Duterte directed the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to lead other government agencies for the initiative.

These agencies include the Department of Health (DOH), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

Among the tasks of the DTI is to consolidate the efforts of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) as well as cooperatives and community organizations for the production of face masks.

The DTI is also directed to support TESDA in gaining access to production networks and supplier markets for raw materials and finished products.

The DTI will also coordinate with the DOH to determine the minimum, most cost-efficient and good quality specifications to ensure that the face masks are effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

The DBM will help in the procurement of face masks while the DSWD will be tapped to identify beneficiaries and distribute the government-procured masks to financially disadvantaged and persons with disability, as well as those enrolled under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.

The PMS will monitor the distribution and consolidate a report to be submitted to the president.

Other government agencies and state-run companies were also directed to cooperate and support the program.

“It is imperative to reinforce non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as minimizing face-to-face interaction, wearing of face masks and face shields, and observing social distancing to complement our healthcare facilities and support our health workers in containing the further spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the memorandum read. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Japan Coast Guard stops search ops for crew of missing cargo vessel

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Japanese Coast Guard has ended its full-time search operations for the missing crew of a cargo vessel that sank off southwestern Japan, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

In a statement, the DFA said the Japanese Coast Guard has transitioned to its usual patrol arrangements as they have found no trace of the ship since Sept. 5.

“The DFA joins the families and loved ones in continued prayers for the missing seafarers,” it said.

Reports said the 11,947-ton Gulf Livestock 1 ship was carrying 5,800 cows west of the western coast of Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture when it made a distress call on September 2. The cause of the distress is still unknown but the weather and seas were rough in the area due to Typhoon Maysak.

The vessel was carrying 43 crew members, 39 of whom are Filipinos.

The Japanese Coast Guard earlier found the remains of a Filipino sailor, while two were rescued.

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