PHL COVID-19 case free!

The lift­ing of travel re­stric­tions for Tai­wan has been agreed by the mem­bers of the IATF by rea­son of the strict mea­sures they are un­der­tak­ing, as well as the pro­to­col they are im­ple­ment­ing to ad­dress the COVID-19

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran­cis T. Wake­field and Hana­neel Bordey

The Philip­pines has no con­firmed case of COVID-19!

This was the re­as­sur­ing rev­e­la­tion of Mala­canang and the Depart­ment of Health (DoH) at the daily me­dia brief­ing Fri­day at the Palace.

“I wish to re­it­er­ate that we do not have any con­firmed case of the COVID-19 in the coun­try as of the mo­ment. But I need to men­tion this time and again, it’s per­haps not a ques­tion of if but rather a ques­tion of when. So that’s why we can­not af­ford to let our guards down de­spite the fact that we still don’t have lo­cal trans­mis­sion, and in fact, all three cases have been clearly es­tab­lished to be im­ported ones,” Sec­re­tary Fran­cisco Duque told re­porters dur­ing the “Lag­ing Handa” press brief­ing in Mala­cañang Palace.

Chief pres­i­den­tial Le­gal Coun­sel and Spokesman

Sal­vador Panelo con­firmed Duque’s claims but em­pha­sized that all pro­to­cols are ac­tively im­ple­mented by the var­i­ous agen­cies to make sure the virus is con­tained.

Duque made rev­e­la­tions as he re­ported that as of Fri­day, 14 Fe­bru­ary, there are still 191 pa­tients un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion ad­mit­ted in var­i­ous health fa­cil­i­ties, while another 260 PUI have al­ready been dis­charged.

Duque also said 252 PUI have tested neg­a­tive for COVID-19 while 186 have pend­ing test re­sults from the Re­search In­sti­tute of Trop­i­cal Medicine (RITM).

“Two of those that tested pos­i­tive were dis­charged, and the other one ex­pired. While there is no recorded case, again, of lo­cal trans­mis­sion in the coun­try, we can al­ready see this hap­pen­ing in nearby coun­tries such as Ja­pan, Hong Kong, Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore, among oth­ers,” he added.

Duque said this de­vel­op­ment com­pels them to gear up for a pos­si­ble com­mu­nity spread.

“The Depart­ment of Health is at the fore­front of as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion and mak­ing ev­i­dence-based de­ci­sions to en­sure that we keep the threat of the COVID-19 at bay,” he said.

Amidst all these, Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte ap­pealed to the pub­lic for calm and unity as the na­tion faces a se­ri­ous threat from the highly con­ta­gious virus, ask­ing the peo­ple to shun dis­in­for­ma­tion and ob­serve strict per­sonal hy­giene.

“I call on our peo­ple to re­main calm, vig­i­lant, re­spon­si­ble and I also ask your trust, co­op­er­a­tion, and sup­port as we face the chal­lenge. Tayo ay magkaisa, to­gether as one na­tion… this chal­lenge can be over­come,” Pres­i­dent Duterte said in his mes­sage to the na­tion.

In the same press brief­ing, Duque said ini­tial re­ports on ten­ta­tive signs COVID-19 is sta­bi­liz­ing is pre­ma­ture.

Duque made the clar­i­fi­ca­tion so as not to give false hope for peo­ple to ex­pect the cri­sis is soon over.

“Well, I don’t want to be a ‘KJ’ (kill joy), but it’s pre­ma­ture,” Duque said.

“We have seen some ini­tial trend­ing that it’s not con­sis­tent, so we have to wait for more data to come in and to es­tab­lish a trend that’s more con­sis­tent, whether it’s plateau­ing, or is it go­ing down, etcetera. So, still the sit­u­a­tion re­mains fluid, he said.

Tai­wan gets the nod

As these de­vel­oped, Mala­cañang Fri­day night con­firmed the In­ter-Agency Task Force for the Man­age­ment of Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Dis­ease (IATF) has re­solved to lift the travel re­stric­tion im­posed on Tai­wan, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately, fol­low­ing a meet­ing held in at the Palace.

Sec­re­tary Duque who led the group called for an im­me­di­ate meet­ing re­gard­ing re­lated is­sues on the travel ban im­posed against Tai­wan.

Chief pres­i­den­tial Le­gal Coun­sel and spokesman Sal­vador Panelo, said with the lift­ing of the travel ban, travel may now be made by any na­tional to Tai­wan from the Philip­pines and vice versa.

“The lift­ing of travel re­stric­tions for Tai­wan has been agreed by the mem­bers of the IATF by rea­son of the strict mea­sures they are un­der­tak­ing, as well as the pro­to­col they are im­ple­ment­ing to ad­dress the COVID-19,” Panelo said in a state­ment.

Mean­while, Panelo said the IATF will like­wise eval­u­ate other ju­ris­dic­tions, in­clud­ing Ma­cau, for the pos­si­ble lift­ing of the im­posed travel ban af­ter their sub­mis­sion of the pro­to­col be­ing ob­served by their gov­ern­ment which pre­vents po­ten­tial car­ri­ers of the said virus from en­ter­ing and de­part­ing their ter­ri­tory and en­able oth­ers to de­ter­mine the re­cent travel history of any traveler ex­it­ing their bor­ders.

“The Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent like­wise stresses that any res­o­lu­tion rel­a­tive to travel re­stric­tions in con­nec­tion with the COVID-19 shall be sub­jected to reg­u­lar re­view by the IATF,” Panelo said.

Ear­lier, Sen. Richard Gor­don asked the De­part­ments of For­eign Af­fairs and Health to re­con­sider its re­solve in halt­ing flights from the East Asian coun­try amid the spread of COVID-19.

At least 157,487 Filipino mi­grant work­ers are em­ployed in Tai­wan mak­ing the Philip­pines the third-largest source of over­seas work­ers in the coun­try, Gor­don noted.

The sen­a­tor in­sisted that the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment should con­sider hu­man­i­tar­ian rea­sons over the travel ban against Tai­wan and should not be in­cluded in the list of coun­tries with travel re­stric­tions as it was not part of China — the epi­cen­ter of the COVID-19 out­break.

While there may be 18 con­firmed COVID-19 cases in Tai­wan, it is not re­ally among the coun­tries badly hit by the dis­ease, which is why no other coun­try in Asia, aside from the Philip­pines, is­sued a travel ban against it,” he said.

At least 157,487 Filipino mi­grant work­ers are em­ployed in Tai­wan mak­ing the Philip­pines the third-largest source of over­seas work­ers in the coun­try, Gor­don noted.

“We are aware of the sen­ti­ments of the Tai­wan gov­ern­ment vis-à-vis the travel ban and all of these will be con­sid­ered in our de­lib­er­a­tions, and hope­fully come up with the con­sen­sus not just to ad­dress specif­i­cally the is­sue on Tai­wan hav­ing been in­cluded in the travel ban, but also a more broad con­sid­er­a­tion of fac­tors that will help the task force for­mu­late a set of cri­te­ria or pa­ram­e­ters in so far as in­clu­sion or ex­clu­sions is con­cerned.” Duque said.

Were do­ing all we can

Mean­while, Sen. Bong Go as­sured the pub­lic the gov­ern­ment is not re­lent­ing on the ef­fort to ad­dress the COVID-19 scare.

Go, who also chairs the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Health, said in an am­bush in­ter­view the Depart­ment of Health is do­ing its best to pre­vent the lo­cal trans­mis­sion of the COVID-19.

Ser­vice with a smile Bong Go vis­its Sulu to de­liver as­sis­tance to fire vic­tims.

YUMMIE DINGDING

Youth in par­adise The Philip­pines, which cur­rently has the largest gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple in its history at 30 mil­lion or 28 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion be­tween the ages of 10 to 24, blooms with scenes like this on the day of hearts.

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