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Local Roundup: Senator quizzes DOH on COVID-19 deaths

  • Senator quizzes DOH on COVID-19 deaths
  • Avigan trial begins
Senator Joel Villanueva lamented Friday that 76 percent of those who died from coronavirus – or 3,279 of the 5,840 total – were not admitted in a hospital, based on official data as of October 5.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who was at the Senate during the budget hearing of the DOH’s P204.73 billion proposed budget for next year, noted that many of them were declared by the hospital dead on arrival.

Duque said they were already studying the report on deaths because it would appear that COVID-19 patients were already in several and critical conditions when taken to a hospital.

The DOH chief also cited the health-seeking behavior of Filipinos especially among the poor, adding they were still waiting for their conditions to worsen before seeking medical treatment.

COVID updates

The Philippines logged on Friday 2,996 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 334,770, the Department of Health reported.

DOH likewise announced 1,045 recoveries. This brings the total number of recoveries to 275,307.

There are 83 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 6,152.

Avigan trial

The Philippines will be starting enrolling patients for its clinical trial that aims to test whether the anti-flu drug Avigan is also effective against COVID-19, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

Vergeire said they were just waiting for the insurance documents to be finalized.

“Our legal service has a minor comment for this insurance document,” she said during a virtual briefing, referring to insurance coverage of the participants

“But we already gave the signal to our proponent, they are now going to start recruiting participants for the trial,” she added.

Vergeire said that once participants are recruited, the trial, which will last for nine months, can officially start “hopefully by next week.”

Russia’s plan

The DOH on Friday said it was open to Russia’s plan of setting up a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and distributing hub in the Philippines, as the development could give the country a medical advantage.

“This will provide us with that advantage. Not just for this pandemic but in the coming years in case we would have this need again,” Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

The DOH had said the country was also considering repackaging the vaccines or taking on the fill-and-finish process since the Philippines did not have a factory yet for vaccines.

Despite the Philippines’ eagerness to set up its own vaccine plant, Vergeire said they made sure to inform the Russian government “that everything has to go through the regulatory processes.”

Staycation under GCQ

Eight hotels in Metro Manila have secured a certification from the Department of Tourism to operate for staycation under general community quarantine.

As of October 9, the following hotels are allowed to accept the leisure market: Okada Manila, Grand Hyatt, Makati Shangri-La, Nobu Hotel, Shangri-La at the Fort, Solaire Resort, Edsa Shangri-La and Joy-Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila.

Based on the guidelines issued by the DOT last September, only hotels with 4-star or 5-star ratings by the agency are allowed to accommodate guests for staycation in GCQ areas.

Among others, hotels must first apply for and secure Certificates of Authority to Operate for Staycations (CAOS) from the DOT.

Recreational divers

Dive establishments and resorts in areas under GCQ or modified GCQ have been allowed by the government to accept recreational divers as guests who are from those places as well.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement following the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Thursday.

He said the DOT shall issue the necessary guidelines in coordination and consultation with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police and the identified local government units. 

Topics: Joel Villanueva , Francisco Duque III , COVID-19 , Maria Rosario Vergeire
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