Virus-hit ship to dock in Manila
- Barriers vs. ‘double mutants’
A ship carrying an all-Filipino crew, 12 of whom are suspected having contracted COVID-19, has been allowed to dock in Manila for emergency medical aid.
The Department of Health said two of the 21 Filipino crew members of the MV Athens Bridge, which flies the flag of Panama, are in critical condition.
“They will be assessed upon arrival and transferred to their partner hospital as they see fit. Rest assured that appropriate care will be provided to those who need it while upholding the proper protocols,” the DOH said.
A situation report from the National Task Force Against Covid-19 said 12 of the crew members were infected with COVID-19, with two needing “immediate medical evacuation” due to breathing difficulties.
“They are already very weak. The vessel has only one oxygen bottle left, which is currently in use by the patient,” read the report.
The vessel was initially prohibited from entering Manila due to refusal from the Bureau of Quarantine. It was also refused entry in Vietnam.
“The vessel took refuge in Manila considering all crew are Filipino and had the highest hope that vessel will be accommodated. An emergency medical evacuation was approved, the vessel is already steaming (on its way to Manila).”
Barriers vs. ‘double mutant’
The Philippine government is exerting all efforts to prevent the possible entry of the “double mutant” B.1.617 variant first detected in India, Malacañang assured the public on Thursday.
Roque gave the assurance after five passengers from India who recently entered the country tested positive for COVID-19.
“It may not be an absolute guarantee that it cannot enter the country but we’re doing our best to contain it,” Roque said.
The Philippines has yet to record a case of the B.1.617 variant that carries two mutations, E484Q and L425R. India’s health ministry said the mutations “confer immune escape and increased infectivity.”
The Philippines earlier suspended the entry of passengers from India from April 19 to May 14. The travel ban was expanded to cover Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, almost half of the sequenced COVID-19 samples from Metro Manila were foreign variants of COVID, a member of the vaccine expert panel said on Thursday.
Between January 4 and May 2, the country sequenced 7,167 samples nationwide, but the government has yet to disclose the recent number of samples taken from Metro Manila.
“Since these are only representative samples... it will just tell you that it is present in NCR (National Capital Region), said Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of San Lazaro Hospital’s Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, during an online press briefing.
“It does not mean that it is causing community transmission,” Solante added.
The Philippines on Thursday reported 6,637 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total to 1,080,172, the Department of Health reported.
The DOH said active cases stood at 63,170, of which 94.3 percent were mild, 1.9 percent asymptomatic, 1.6 percent severe, and 1.2 percent critical.
Total recoveries rose to 999,011, with 6,091 more people who recuperated from the disease. COVID-fatalities climbed to 17,991, with 191 new deaths – the highest in over three weeks.