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Local Roundup: Rody to get jab on backside • Unregistered vax from UAE

Malacañang on Tuesday said that President Rodrigo Duterte will have his COVID-19 vaccine in private because he’s going to be injected in his buttocks.

“It’s final, in private, because he is going to be injected in the ass; it cannot be done in public,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in his daily press briefing.

“It was the President’s decision to get vaccinated privately,” he added.

Earlier, Vice President Leni Robredo, one of his vocal critics, had said that if the Chief Executive gets a public jab, the Filipino people might be convinced about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.

DOH welcomes rule on kids

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to reverse the policy allowing children aged 10 to 14 to go out with their parents or guardians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the DOH said the President's decision "will give us time for at least two cycles of genome sequencing with adequate representation from all regions to determine the extent of the transmission of the variant of concern."

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases' (IATF) move to lower the age of individuals allowed to go out has drawn criticisms from the OCTA Research Team and other health professionals, especially with the arrival of the UK variant of the coronavirus, which is more transmissible.

Duterte, in his weekly public address on Monday, said he reversed the IATF's decision as "a precaution." 

Metro Manila gets past holiday surge

Metro Manila is past the expected surge of COVID-19 cases following the holidays, the OCTA Research Team said on Tuesday.

OCTA, an independent group of researchers, saw last month a spike in COVID-19 cases as Filipinos went out to shop and gather for the holidays.

“Yes, we're past it. The number of cases increased in the first week of January but this was because our testing during the holidays halved so when it resumed the cases increased,” OCTA Research fellow Guido David told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

“We did not see the effect of the holiday surge in Metro Manila, same with the Traslacion,” David said.

The daily average of virus cases in the capital region remains the same before the holidays at around 400, David said as he noted cases in other regions such as Cebu have increased.

Other areas such as Mt. Province, where the more contagious COVID-19 variant first detected in the UK was recently reported, had doubledits cases in weeks, he added. 

Unregistered vaccines came for UAE

An official of Sinopharm’s local distributor MKG Universal Trading Corp. on Tuesday said the unregistered COVID-19 vaccine used in the Philippines was from the clinical trials in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

MKG President and CEO Mark Tolentino, in an interview on CNN Philippines, said they are investigating how about 20 vials of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines reached the country. He said they have not found out yet who brought the vaccines here.

In December last year, President Rodrigo Duterte said that many have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 using the Sinopharm vaccine, which is not registered yet with the Food and Drug Administration.

Tolentino said based on information they gathered, only a few of Sinopharm vaccines, 10 to 20 vials, reached Philippine shores illegally.

Tolentino said the Sinopharm vaccine would be affordable, contrary to claims that it is pricey compared to other COVID-19 vaccines.

Red Cross eyes more saliva tests

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is targeting to make the COVID-19 saliva test available in all its laboratories nationwide by Feb. 1, PRC chairman and Senator Richard Gordon said Tuesday.

"Our goal is to go nationwide by February 1. Today, we are open with our machines in Metro Manila and in Mandaluyong," Gordon said in an interview on ANC.

"[In] the two major laboratories of the country, we have 20 machines in Manila. The rest of the country will have another 28 machines which are capable of 1,000 tests a day," he added.

Gordon said the Red Cross was able to facilitate 136 saliva tests on Monday when it started offering the service. The test is priced at P2,000 each, cheaper than the RT-PCR swab test.

The cost could further be reduced over time, the senator said.

Topics: Department of Health , COVID-19 , Rodrigo Duterte , Leni Robredo
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