WHO says travel bans cannot be indefinite; countries must fight virus

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2020   •   389

Bans on international travel cannot stay in place indefinitely, and countries are going to have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders, the World Health Organization said on Monday (July 27).

A surge of infections has prompted countries to reimpose some travel restrictions in recent days, with Britain throwing the reopening of Europe’s tourism industry into disarray by ordering a quarantine on travellers returning from Spain.

Only with strict adherence to health measures, from wearing masks to avoiding crowds, would the world manage to beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said at a virtual news briefing in Geneva.

WHO emergencies programme head Mike Ryan said it was impossible for countries to keep borders shut for the foreseeable future.

“It is going to be almost impossible for individual countries to keep their borders shut for the foreseeable future. Economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume,” he said.

“What is clear is pressure on the virus pushes the numbers down. Release that pressure and cases creep back up.”

Ryan said Spain’s current situation was nowhere near as bad as it had been at the pandemic’s peak there, and he expected clusters to be brought under control, though it would take days or weeks to discern the disease’s future pattern. (Reuters)

(Production: Lucien Libert, Ardee Napolitano, Stephanie Nebehay)

DOH reiterates warning vs use of misting, fog machines as disinfectants

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020

Misting and fog machines are still not recommended by the Department of Health (DOH) to be used as disinfectants to protect individuals from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The health department said there is no concrete evidence proving the effectiveness of such machines in killing the virus. Instead, these machines pose risks in further spreading the virus in the environment.

“The routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaced by spraying or fogging in indoor spaces also known as fumigation or misting is not recommended for COVIID-19,” according to DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report in May stating that misting machines used as a disinfectant might result in skin irritation and difficulty in breathing. Fogging, meanwhile, may have negative environmental effects.

Iyan po iyong kasama sa sinasabing rekomendasyon ng WHO that it may cause harm, cause more harm than good (That is included in WHO’s recommendation), Vergeire said.

The health department reminded households to use the right amount of disinfectant directly on objects or any household items.

The DOH added it is better to wipe the surface with disinfectant instead of just spraying them. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Ombudsman suspends 5 DOH officials for delay in release of frontliner benefits

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2020

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered a preventive suspension against five Department of Health (DOH) officials for the alleged delays in the release of frontliner benefits.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires signed the order on Tuesday (October 27) to preventively suspend for six months Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an; Kenneth Ronquillo, Maylene Beltran, Laureano Cruz and Esperanza Carating.

The order is to prevent the officials from potentially tampering with documents or evidence while an investigation on the health department is ongoing.

The investigation was opened in June to look into the alleged delay in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other medical gears, alleged lapses that led to the rising number of health workers infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), inaction to the release of financial benefits for fallen medical workers, as well as confusing and delayed reports of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The DOH previously welcomed the said investigation and assured they will fully cooperate with the appropriate authorities. AAC

WHO solidarity trial in PH to begin in December—DOH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 27, 2020

The solidarity trial of the World Health Organization (WHO) for potential vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines and other countries will begin in December.

Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said 150 to 200 will participate in the trial in 12 sites in the country.

Sa November kasi parang maguumpisa sa isang site and mag-follow na po iyong iba’t ibang clinical trials in the other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020 (The trial will begin in November in one site and it will be followed by other clinical trials in other countries including the Philippines by December of 2020), she said.

The Health Department also announced Interferon will no longer be a part of WHO’s solidarity trial. Vergeire reported the said drug did not reduce the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients.

Iyong gamot hindi na-reach objective (The medicine did not reach its objective),” she said.

The WHO has previously discontinued the use of hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment after seeing no signs of effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the WHO added two drugs for the therapeutics solidarity trial, which include Acalabrutinib that is used for the chemotherapeutic regimen of patients. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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