WHO says COVID-19 pandemic is “one big wave,” not seasonal

UNTV News   •   July 29, 2020   •   199

The World Health Organization on Tuesday (July 28) warned against complacency about the new coronavirus transmission in the northern hemisphere summer, saying that this virus did not behave like influenza that tended to follow seasonal trends.

“People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus”, Margaret Harris told a virtual briefing in Geneva, adding “this one is behaving differently”. She urged vigilance in applying measures to slow transmission that is spreading via mass gatherings.

She also warned against thinking in terms of virus waves, saying: “It’s going to be one big wave. It’s going to go up and down a bit. The best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet.” (Reuters)

Production: Cecile Mantovani

Davao City gov’t to impose fines on people violating 14-day quarantine protocol

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

Persons not complying with the mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will now be penalized, according to an ordinance recently approved by the Davao City Council.

On August 11, the council approved under suspended rules the Ordinance to Penalize All Persons Violating the Mandatory 14-day Home Quarantine for COVID-19 imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and local health authorities.

The measure covers all residents and non-residents staying in the city.

Under the IATF policy, the mandatory 14-day quarantine applies to:

  • All asymptomatic returning Overseas Filipino Workers, whether sea-based or land-based, subject to the arrangements, and rules and regulations imposed by the governing authority
  • Asymptomatic returning OFWs and holder of permanent resident visas
  • Asymptomatic Locally Stranded Individuals
  • Asymptomatic healthcare workers with unprotected exposure (defined as working in a healthcare facility with confirmed Covid-19 patients within the last 14 days without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) should remain isolated for 14 days unless RT-PCR tests are available
  • Asymptomatic non-healthcare workers who test IgM positive in rapid tests are required to undergo isolation at home or a community quarantine facility for 14 days, and 
  • Other such cases which require mandatory 14-day home quarantine as prescribed by law

Violators of this ordinance will be penalized with P5,000 and subjected to six months imprisonment or depending on the discretion of the court.

The ordinance was filed by Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte and certified urgent by Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte.

“We are living under unusual times in a pandemic, therefore, it is very important that persons who are told to undergo a 14-day home quarantine be penalized if they violate such quarantine. I feel that we will send a stronger message to deter Dabawenyos violating quarantine laws if we pass this ordinance,” Villafuerte said.

The Department of Health Center for Health Development in Davao, the City Health Office, and the Davao City Police Office as well as the respective Punong Barangays and Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) shall ensure the enforcement of the new ordinance.

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DILG to probe alleged cut in hazard pay of Cainta nurse who died of COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said it will conduct an investigation into the reported reduction of hazard pay of a health worker at the Cainta Municipal Hospital who recently succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said they will ask the Cainta, Rizal government to explain why it reduced the hazard pay of the nurse as part of its probe into the issue.

“Cainta is a first-class municipality so I see no reason why it could not afford to pay the P500/day hazard pay granted to all health workers during this global pandemic,” Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya’s statement comes after the nurse’s daughter posted a message, which has gone viral on social media, lamenting the P7,000 amount they received from the local government instead of the expected P30,000.

The social media post further claimed that the nurse’s hazard pay was reduced to just P64.18 per day and that the hospital administration even failed to properly explain the deductions.

Aside from the issue on hazard pay, Malaya said they will also ask the local government to explain allegations that it supposedly refused to give the medical worker a swab test after she had a close contact with a COVID-19 patient.

He assured that the DILG and the Department of Health will work together to ensure that the family of the medical frontline worker will receive the P1 million compensation for health workers who died in the line of duty as mandated under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

“We will ensure that her family receives all the benefits provided under the law. This is the least we can do to honor her service to the Municipality of Cainta where she worked in its LGU-run public hospital for more than 10 years – the first 4 years of those without any salary,” Malaya said.

“We have to take care of our health workers because they are the ones who take care of us. Without them, we lose the war against COVID-19. Therefore, we will investigate and determine who should be held accountable,” he added.

Duterte to announce new community quarantine status on August 17 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to address the nation on August 17, Monday, to announce fresh community quarantine restrictions to be implemented in the country, Malacañang said Thursday.

The two-week modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) over Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna will lapse on August 18.

“Inaasahan po natin na magmemensahe sa taumbayan muli ang ating Presidente sa Aug. 17 kung saan iaanunsyo din niya ‘yung bagong classifications,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque earlier said it is unlikely that the MECQ will be extended because the country’s economy can no longer afford to undergo strict lockdown.

He said recommendations for all other provinces and cities for quarantine classifications have already been submitted for the president’s approval.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines has recorded 147,526 confirmed coronavirus infections, of which 74,713 are active.

The number of reported recoveries also rose to 70,387 while the death toll is at 2,426. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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