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Five hospitals listed for virus vaccine trials

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The Department of Health (DOH) is now eyeing five hospitals for the Phase 3 of the clinical trials of anti-COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by China-based Sinovac Biotech, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday.

Vergeire identified the five proposed sites as the Philippine General Hospita, San Lazaro Hospital, Manila Doctors Hospital, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and Vicente Sotto Medical Center.

Yhe government is in talks with 16 other vaccine manufacturers around the world for access to an anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

China has approved Sinovac's coronavirus vaccine candidate CoronaVac for emergency use as part of a program initiated in July to vaccinate high-risk groups such as medical staff, a person familiar with the matter said. 

Hospitals less congested—DOH

DOH said it has observed an improvement in the bed occupancy rate in hospitals in Metro Manila, which could mean less congestion in these hospitals.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said hospitals in the Metro Manila were decongesting “gradually” after the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) was imposed from Aug.4 to 18.

“As the days go by, as we do our analysis, we can see the effect of the two weeks of MECQ,” she said.

Blood in short supply

Blood banks, especially in Metro Manila, are experiencing a shortage of blood supply, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Sunday.

In a report on “24 Oras Weekend”, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said people were afraid of going to hospitals to donate blood due to the “We have a shortage of blood products, especially within the National Capital Region,” Vergeire said.

The DOH is asking for blood products from regions where there were few to no cases of COVID-19.

Vergeire assured the public, however, that it was still safe to donate blood he pandemic. 

Conflicting test results probed

DOH is investigating two incidents of individuals in Pampanga who got conflicting COVID-19 results from state-run and privately-owned laboratories.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, during an online briefing Monday, said he DOH already received a report from the Pampanga provincial government.

The DOH said it is looking into it as part of its mandate to ensure that laboratories deliver accurate results.

She said there were two patients who were tested for COVID-19, and after two days, new tests showed different results. – Willie Casas

6,932 health workers with COVID-19

DOH on Sunday said that 433 more health workers have been infected with COVID-19 over the past week, raising the total to 6,932 as of August 29.

In its daily COVID-19 report, the DOH said total recoveries among health workers climbed to 6,148 after 389 more recovered from the respiratory disease, while the death toll climbed to 40 with one new fatality.

The other 744 medical workers are active cases undergoing treatment or quarantine.

The five medical professions with the highest number of COVID-19 cases are nurses with 2,401 infections, doctors with 1,433, nursing assistants with 484, medical technologists with 304, and radiologic technologists with 138 cases. – Willie Casas

BI eases rules for departing foreigners

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has eased its rules and requirements for departing foreign nationals due to the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued a directive allowing foreigners with visas approved by the BI to leave the country before they could be issued their alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card).

Morente said the bureau will also no longer require departing aliens with approved and implemented visas to secure an ACR I-Card waiver order.

This policy would be implemented until Dec. 31 of this year but its effectivity may be extended or revoked early depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Morente said.

GenSan fishport to shut down for 4 days

Portions of the fishport complex here will be closed for four days starting Wednesday, Sept. 2, amid the rising cases of confirmed COVID-19 infections at the facility.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Monday the partial lockdown was aimed at facilitating massive contact-tracing and disinfection of various facilities within the city fishport, which is situated in Barangay Tambler.

Set until Sept. 5, he said it will cover the fishport’s markets 1 to 3, the area frequented by thousands of fish suppliers, workers, buyers and other traders on a daily basis. 


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