Tokyo doctors call for cancellation of Olympic Games due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 20, 2021   •   319

MANILA, Philippines—Medical practitioners in Japan are calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics due to a surge in cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an open letter, the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association is appealing to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to suspend the upcoming Tokyo Olympics especially when the country is already experiencing the 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization represents 6,000 primary care doctors in Tokyo. It lamented that medical practitioners already have their hands full responding to rising cases in Japan.

Holding the Games at the height of summer, the group also expressed concern over the additional burden of dealing with heat stroke cases.

The Olympics Committee has set up 30 hospitals for the upcoming games, however, the organization said there are not enough medical facilities and personnel.

Meanwhile, International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach said 80% of the individuals at the Olympic Village Resident have already been vaccinated. The IOC also assured they will provide additional medical personnel to assist during the Olympics. (With reports from Ryuji Sasaki)

NCR hospitals report decreasing number of COVID-19 patients

Maris Federez   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Several hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) have reported a significant decrease in the number of patients admitted due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPi).

PHAPi president Dr. Jose Rene de Grano said a number of private hospitals nationwide, particularly in Metro Manila, have reported not having COVID-19 patient confinements.

Hospitals that still have COVID-19 patients are of non-severe cases.

“Karamihan sa kanila halos kung hindi man zero, it’s less than 5 or 2 na nga lang yung iba eh. Meron din talagang zero or wala na. And yung cases nga, hindi na kagrabe katulad nung iba dati,” De Grano.

De Grano added that half of the more than 600 PHAPi member hospitals have recorded low COVID-19 admissions.

This, De Grano said, allows hospitals to focus their attention on non-COVID-19 patients.

“Yung mga private hospitals ngayon, nakaka-concentrate kami on non-COVID cases. But still, we are prepared just in case magkaroon tayo ng maraming COVID cases ulit,” he said.

“Mas nakakarelax ang ating healthcare workers, doctors and nurses. Actually, ang pino-focus nila ngayon is ang vaccination,” he added.

However, he warned hospitals not to be too complacent as there are still hospitals outside of the nation’s capital that still have COVID-19 cases.

He, nevertheless, assured that private hospitals are ready and prepared to accept COVID-19 patients, if and when warranted.

Meanwhile, government hospitals have also reported a decreasing number of COVID-19 patients admitted.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) has reported that the number of COVID-19 cases confined in the hospital has reduced to only 18, with only one patient in the intensive care unit (ICU).

NKTI executive director Dr. Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete added that the hospital now has only one health worker under quarantine.

“Ang admission namin is zero to one a day. The past weekend, zero zero eh. Yesterday, one-one. Malaking bagay na nakababa kumpara before na nag-100 plus cases kami,” Liquete said.

“Malaking bagay na ito, nakakahinga na sila. Nakakahinga na kami,” she added.

Liquete said several rooms that have been transformed into COVID-19 rooms are not back to being non-COVID rooms.

The Philippine General Hospital, as of December 5 announced that the hospital now only has 59 COVID-19 patients confined.

Despite this development, PHAPi appealed to the government to keep the country under alert level 2 until the end of the year.

The group also reminded the public to still observe minimum health protocols at all times.

“We should still be careful dahil nandiyan pa rin ang COVID. Sakaling magkaroon tayo ng pagtitipon, kung maaari siguro sa close relatives na lang o sa family na lang. At iwasan na po natin yung maraming masyadong pagtitipon ng sa gayon ay ma-enjoy natin ang ating vacation,” De Grano said.

Liquete, on the other hand, advised the public to stay away from big groups. She also called on those who are not yet vaccinated to receive their jab.

“Iwasan ang big groups, at saka for those who are not vaccinated, magpabakuna na po,” Liquete said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Philippines adds France to Red List

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Wednesday placed France on the Philippines’ Red list or countries that are high risk for COVID-19, Malacañang said.

In a statement, acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the escalation of France to the Red list is effective 12:01 a.m. of December 10 to 15.

Travelers who have been to France within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines, and who will arrive on December 10 to 12, shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with an RT-PCR test on the 7th day, with day one being the date of arrival.

“Notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result, the completion of the 14-day quarantine is required,” Nograles said.

Beginning 12:01 a.m. of December 13 until December 15, entry in any port of the Philippines shall not be allowed for passengers coming from or who have been to France within the last 14 days prior to arrival in the Philippines, regardless of vaccination status.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to existing testing and quarantine protocols for Red List countries/territories/jurisdictions.

“As with all international inbound travel, the testing and quarantine protocols for minors shall follow the testing and quarantine protocols of the parent/guardian traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status,” Nograles said.

“This notwithstanding, children 3 years old and below, regardless of country of origin, shall be exempt from the requirement of presenting a negative RT-PCR test result before boarding the flight, unless symptomatic,” he added.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Palace official said that passengers who arrived prior to December 10, 2021 and are currently undergoing quarantine shall complete the testing and quarantine protocols in effect at the time of their arrival.

All passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through France shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into such country by its immigration authorities.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, they shall comply with the applicable testing and quarantine protocols for passengers who have not been to any Red List country/territory/jurisdiction.

The updated Red List comes amid the looming threat of newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant.

70% PUV passenger capacity, papayagan na sa NCR, karatig-probinsiya simula Dec. 9 – LTFRB

Robie de Guzman   •   December 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Ipatutupad na ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ang ilang pagbabago sa passenger capacity load sa public utility vehicles (PUV) simula sa Huwebes, Disyembre 9.

Ayon sa LTFRB, ang mga pagbabago ay alinsunod sa alituntuning inilabas ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

Batay sa LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2021-076, nasa 70% na ang papayagang passenger capacity load sa mga PUV sa National Capital Region (NCR) at mga probinsiyang kasama sa Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study (MMUTIS) Update and Capacity Enhancement Project (MUCEP).

Ang mga probinsiyang ito ay kinabibilangan ng Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, at Rizal.

Para naman sa mga rehiyon na 50% passenger capacity load ang ipinaiiral sa mga PUV ngunit mayroon ng 30% Vaccination Rate ngayong Disyembre, sinabi ng LTFRB na maaari na ring iakyat sa 70% ang kanilang passenger capacity load.

“Sa mga rehiyon na maaari nang maipatupad ang 70% passenger capacity load ngunit hindi pa nakukumpirma ang 30% Vaccination Rate, kailangan magsumite ng Regional Franchising and Regulatory Board (RFRO) ng Memorandum to the Board kasama ang Certification of Vaccination Rate na manggagaling sa Regional IATF o Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office,” ayon sa ahensiya.

Para sa mga inter-regional routes, susundin ang mga sumusunod na alituntunin patungkol sa Passenger Capacity:

  • Mga PUV na bibiyahe papuntang Metro Manila, susundin ang passenger capacity ng rehiyon na pinanggalingan ng PUV
  • Sa mga PUV na bibiyahe mula Metro Manila, susundin ang passenger capacity ng rehiyon na end point ng biyahe
  • Sa mga inter-regional routes na hindi dadaan ng Metro Manila, susundin ang rehiyon na may mas mababang passenger capacity.

Paalala ng LTFRB sa transport operators na sundin ang mga patakaran ng ahensya.

Ang mga mahuhuling lalabag ay papatawan ng kaukulang parusa at multa, at maaaring tanggalan ng certipikasyon.

Epektibo ang polisiyang ito hanggang sa Enero 4, 2022.


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