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Singapore donates 3K testing kits—DFA chief

Singapore will donate 3,000 coronavirus testing kits and a PCR machine or thermal cycler to the Philippines to help it fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Sunday.

“Singapore is donating 3,000 Covid test kits and one PCR machine. Thank you so much,” Locsin said in his Twitter account.

He added he was about to send a memo to the President.

“Memoing the President about this right now. I’m a bit tired,” Locsin said.

Appeal for support

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente has appealed for support in securing personal protective equipment―and especially for Immigration officers at the international airports and seaports in the amid the COVID-2019 outbreak.

“We are sourcing masks, alcohol and other PPEs, but we are honestly finding it hard to procure these as there is a worldwide lack of supply,” Morente said in a statement.

“Hence we often rely on donations from other government agencies and concerned entities.”

Immigration Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina has described the situation at the front lines during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine as “risky” because Immigration officers feel threatened by the virus, and there is always the fear of being exposed to it.”

Immigration officers, according to Medina, are the first to interact with arriving passengers who might be carriers.

P60-million donation

Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc., the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Solaire Resort & Casino, says it will be donating P60 million worth of Personal Protective Equipment and N95 masks to the Department of Health.

These equipment will arrive late next week and will be distributed to medical front liners in the various hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients.

BCFI says it has also applied with the Food and Drug Administration for permits for three COVID-19 testing kits from China and South Korea.

The foundation says as soon as the clearances and permits are issued, it will procure 100,000 test kits to boost the government’s supply of those materials for testing for COVID-19.”

Courts ordered closed

The Justice department has ordered the closure of all prosecution offices but says prosecutors will remain “on call” as part of its efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

“All courts nationwide are physically closed, but all are on call,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message.

Earlier, the Supreme Court ordered all courts nationwide closed, with the judges and their staff to be reached only by phone or online starting March 23. Courts will only be opened to act on matters considered urgent.

Appeal for drivers

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Sunday the government has failed to say how it intends to help the drivers of public utility vehicles who are reeling from the month-long enhanced community quarantine over COVID-19.

READ: Workers laud Pasig mayor for virus response

He says PUV drivers have no choice but to stop operating while all modes of public transportation are suspended.

He says a jeepney driver usually takes home ₱14,685 a month. Each driver has up to seven family members on the average who depend on his daily take-home pay to survive.

Advice to the public

A Palace official has advised the public to regularly check information and updates on COVID- 19 only from the government website to prevent the spread of fake news that create fear and panic.

In a press briefing, the Presidential Communications Operations Office presented a new web portal where the public can check information and updates on COVID-19 from the government.

Bureau of Communications Services Director Princess Pebble Duque says the portal aims to counter disinformation on COVID-19 and warned anyone dishing out fake news.

The government portal that will serve as news sources are from Philippine News Agency, Philippine Information Agency and People’s Television Network.

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Topics: Singapore , coronavirus , testing kits , Teodoro Locsin Jr. , Jaime Morente
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