The Philippines has started looking for possible foreign partners to secure the availability of a potential vaccine for the coronavirus, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday.
The department says it has initiated coordination and the exchange of information with various groups in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Middle East that are developing vaccines against the disease.
“The DFA stands ready to support and complement efforts of Philippine government agencies in response to the current pandemic and eventually secure a viable vaccine for COVID-19 for Filipinos in the soonest possible time,” the department said.
Amid reports that the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2—the causative agent of COVID-19—being airborne, the Department of Health stressed the importance of wearing a mask as part of the prescribed minimum health standards to ensure utmost protection from COVID-19.
Edsel Salvana, a member of the department’s Technical Advisory Group, says the virus is assumed to be airborne when conducting aerosol generating procedures in hospitals.
“This is why our health care workers use N95 masks and conduct strict infection prevention and control measures,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual presser.
Nurses at the San Lazaro Hospital on Friday asked the management for relief from their workload as they expressed concern over the risk they face in their jobs.
“We need all the help and all the prayers that our nation can offer as we watch the tremendous increase of COVID-19 positive cases in our country,” the nurses said in a statement posted by the group Filipino Nurses United National.
“We were trained to handle infectious diseases for decades, but apparently we are now becoming the victims.”
As of Friday, San Lazaro Hospital had more than 40 cases of personnel positive for Covid-19: doctors, nurses, administration staff and aids and staff. Half of them are symptomatics and confined while others are self-quarantined.
Government hospitals and temporary treatment facilities in Cebu City are underutilized amid the continuing increase of COVID-19 cases in the city, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said Friday.
He said this was due to “mismatch” or poor coordination between the hospitals and temporary treatment facilities.
He said private hospitals were being filled up but government hospitals were almost empty.
However, Vega said the gaps were now being addressed with the deployment of doctors from the military and the volunteer doctors from Northern Luzon in temporary treatment facilities.
Religious gatherings allowed
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is quarantined due to her COVID-19 infection, but she has issued a memo allowing religious gatherings under strict conditions starting today, Saturday.
“The city government acknowledges the importance of faith and religion among Filipinos, especially during this time of pandemic,” Belmonte said.
“I am just asking for your understanding since we have to impose stringent rules to avoid encountering any trouble in the future.”
Fourteen barangays in Pasay City were declared in critical condition and placed under tight watch on Friday following the surge of COVID-19 cases there.
“The Pasay City Government has declared 14 barangays as critical areas for two weeks, which started on July 8, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. These are Barangays 14, 34, 37, 42, 46, 106, 144, 169, 171,183, 184, 190, 193 and 201,” the city’s public information office said in an advisory.
Mayor Imelda Rubiano made the decision following a meeting with City Administrator Dennis Acorda and officials of the City Health Office, the Philippine National Police, the Public Order and Safety Unit and the barangays.
Last Thursday, the city government recorded 33 new cases, bringing to 1,129 the total number of people who tested positive for COVID-19.
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