WHO urges countries to investigate early COVID-19 cases

UNTV News   •   May 6, 2020   •   204

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday (May 5) a report that COVID-19 had emerged in December in France, sooner than previously thought, was “not surprising,” and urged countries to investigate any other early suspicious cases.

The disease later identified as COVID-19 was first reported by Chinese authorities to the WHO on December and was not previously believed to have spread to Europe until January.

“This gives a whole new picture on everything,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing in Geneva, referring to the French reports.

“The findings help to better understand the potential virus circulation of COVID-19,” he added, saying other possible earlier cases could emerge after retesting samples.

A French hospital which has retested old samples from pneumonia patients discovered that it treated a man who had COVID-19 as early as Dec. 27, nearly a month before the French government confirmed its first cases.

Lindmeier encouraged other countries to check records for pneumonia cases of unspecified origin in late 2019, saying this would give the world a “new and clearer picture” of the outbreak.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleges his country has “evidence” that the new coronavirus emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, although scientists have advised the WHO that it is of animal origin.

WHO’s top emergencies expert Mike Ryan said on Monday (May 4) that the body’s chief had raised the issue of the origins of the virus “at the highest level” during a WHO mission to China in January. (Reuters)

(Production: Cecile Mantovani)

Navotas to undergo 14-day lockdown due to surge in COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 13, 2020

Navotas City will be placed under a 14-day lockdown due to the rising cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco confirmed what has been floating on social media regarding the lockdown, although he added that he is still yet to sign the directive.

Based on the report of City Health officials on Sunday (July 12), there are 931 confirmed cases in the city.

Tiangco lamented that despite the rising cases, residents continue to leave their houses irresponsibly. He also said that several children are playing outside without wearing face masks.

Barangay NBBS Dagat-dagatan has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city.

Barangay Chairperson Zenaida Tibulan said most of the residents thought there is less danger when community quarantine eased.

Lahat halos lumalabas na noong nagkaroon ng GCQ parang pakiramdam nila natapos na ang problema. Sobra lang mahirap talaga para masasabi nating ma-control ang mga tao at mga bata na lumabas (Almost everyone went outside when GCQ was implemented, they thought the problem is over. It is really difficult to control residents and children not to leave their houses),” she said.

Mayor Tiangco said he is still waiting for the augmentation force he requested from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to begin the implementation of the lockdown in the city. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento).

Phl Red Cross opens convalescent plasma center in Manila to help fight COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) on Monday said it has opened its convalescent plasma center in the Philippine capital to help in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The PRC said its convalescent plasma bank was opened at its National Blood Center in Port Area and has started operations Monday.

In a statement, PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the facility aims to help COVID-19 patients after some medical experts attested to the therapy’s effectiveness.

“Pinilit naming magkaroon ng convalescent plasma center para mabigyan ng pag-asa ang mga kababayan natin na may COVID,” he said as he noted that 9 out 10 patients who underwent the therapy have recovered from the disease.

Convalescent plasma therapy involves the extraction of blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to be transfused to a patient who is still battling the disease. Blood plasma is expected to contain antibodies which will help recipients fight off the infection.

Gordon said the center is open for COVID-19 survivors who wish to donate blood plasma to the PRC.

COVID-19 survivors between the ages of 18 and 65 would have to undergo physical and medical to see if they are qualified to donate blood plasma.

To date, the Philippines has recorded a total of 57,006 COVID-19 cases. Of these patients, 20,371 have recovered while 1,599 died from the disease.

Olympics must go ahead next year as symbol of overcoming COVID-19, Tokyo governor says

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.

The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.

“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.

Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)

(Production: Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai, Akiko Okamoto)

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