Virus cases break half-million mark; health workers needed

COVID-19 infections in the Philippines breached the half-million mark Sunday as the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,895 new cases, bringing the total to 500,577 infections since the pandemic began.

The DOH reported 5,868 new recoveries, bringing the total number of patients who have recovered from the disease to 465,991, which is 93.1 percent of the total cases.

The DOH also reported 11 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 9,895, which is 1.98 percent of the total cases.

This left 24,691 active cases, which is 4.9 percent of the total number of cases.

Gordon: train dentists, med-techs

Senator Richard Gordon said he wants dentists, medical technicians, and even people without medical background to be trained to administer vaccinations the Philippines looks to start rolling out its immunization plan in February.

Gordon made the proposal as he questioned the Department of Health’s capability to carry out the vaccination program with only 617,239 health care workers to participate in the campaign based on the department’s data.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III agreed with Gordon’s proposal, not only for COVID-19, but for other diseases, as well.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that the government aims to vaccinate 60 to 70 percent of Filipinos in three to five years. About P82.5 billion was allocated by the government for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines this year, of which, P70 billion will be sourced from foreign loans.

QC to launch KyusiPass

THE Quezon City government will launch KyusiPass, a contact tracing application powered by SafePass, in a bid to boost its contact tracing efforts.

Mayor Joy Belmonte said through KyusiPass, the city could keep track of who is visiting each establishment within its jurisdiction.

“Currently, our businesses are requiring their guests to fill up health declaration forms. Through our KyusiPass, they will just tap their QR code onto the scanner and their information, including their name and mobile number, will automatically be sent to our servers handled by our City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU),” she said.

An individual with a valid mobile number, who is residing, working or doing business in the city, is required to get a personal QR code so he or she can register by signing up on the SafePass website, SafePass Facebook chatbot and through SMS.

IATF exit quotas questioned

PARTY-LIST Rep. Mike Defensor on Sunday said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases must reconsider a 5,000-annual limit on the number of newly hired Filipino health care workers that may be allowed to leave the country for overseas employment.

“Exit quotas or similar restrictions are not really desirable because they tend to expose individuals to potential exploitation – from the time they apply for overseas employment certificates up to their point of departure in immigration counters,” he said.

“As far as we’re concerned, there’s really no point in restraining our health care workers from leaving for abroad, if we can’t provide them good-paying jobs here at home,” he added.

“If they’ve already received hiring notices from foreign employers, we should just allow them to leave,” Defensor added.

DOH holds town hall meeting with nurses

The Department of Health (DOH), together with the Philippine Information Agency, on Sunday held a town hall meeting with the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) to advocate vaccination, and increase vaccine confidence as the government prepares for COVID-19 vaccination program roll out in February.

Recognizing nurses as important partners in the COVID-19 immunization program, the meeting shed light on the vaccine selection process and the national vaccination deployment plan. It also addressed issues on vaccine acceptance and its primary barriers, and how healthcare workers can lend a hand in effective risk communication and demand generation for vaccines.

During the town hall, health social scientist Prof. Nina Castillo-Carandang of the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine addressed issues on vaccine hesitancy and the crucial role that health workers play in increasing vaccine confidence. On the other hand, Dr. Marion Kwek of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases also discussed the current vaccines in the pipeline.

Topics: COVID-19 , Department of Health , Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases , Department of Health , the Philippine Nurses Association , COVID-19 , Mike Defensor , Richard Gordon , Quezon City , KyusiPass
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