Philippines reports 97 more Delta infections

Philippines reports 97 more Delta infections
(BusinessWorld) PHILIPPINE health authorities on Thursday said 97 more people had been infected with the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant, pushing the total to 216.

Of the 97, 88 got the virus locally, six were returning migrant Filipinos, while officials were still verifying how the three got the virus that was first detected in India, the Department of Health (DoH) said in a statement.

Of the six migrant workers, two were seafarers of MT Clyde and Barge Claudia, now anchored in Albay, while four were crew members of MV Vega that arrived from Indonesia, the agency said.

Ninety-four people have recovered, while three died, DoH said.

Meanwhile, 83 more people have been infected with the Alpha variant from the United Kingdom. It added that 127 more people have gotten the Beta variant from South Africa and 22 more got the Philippine coronavirus variant.

“It is imperative for local government units to immediately crush clusters of infection and observed increases in cases in their respective jurisdictions to reduce transmission,” the Health department said.

“Regardless of the presence of a variant of concern, the management and interventions for these positive COVID-19 cases remain the same,” it added.

The agency urged people to get vaccinated to prevent severe infection.

DoH reported 5,735 coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 1.57 million.

The death toll rose to 27,577 after 176 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 4,069 to 1.48 million, it said in a bulletin.

There were 56,273 active cases, 93.5% of which were mild, 1.2% did not have symptoms, 2.3% were severe, 1.61% were moderate and 1.4% were critical.

The agency said 114 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 32 of which were tagged as recoveries. It added that 132 recoveries had been reclassified as deaths.


Meanwhile, Manila, the capital and nearby cities would remain under a general lockdown with heightened restrictions until mid-August, the presidential palace said on Wednesday night.
This was despite the recommendation by health experts to put the capital region under a hard lockdown to contain a fresh spike in coronavirus infections. Metro Manila mayors have also been calling for the imposition of tighter quarantines in Metro Manila, which is home to more than 13 million Filipinos.

Nearby provinces such as Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite and Laguna would also be placed under a general quarantine with heightened restrictions, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said in a statement.

Also on Thursday, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said it had not endorsed a strict lockdown in Metro Manila.

PCCI President Emeritus George T. Barcelon in a statement said he had only sought preparation time in case an enhanced community quarantine was imposed again.

“The economic downside to establishments and employees is not something we can afford,” he said in a separate Viber message. “My position was to wait and see if the healthcare sectors can cope with a surge, then decide the lockdown if necessary.”

The chamber recommends incentivizing people who have been fully vaccinated by allowing them to travel across provinces and enter malls and restaurants freely.

“The idea is to open the economy and allow greater mobility of people while taking stock of the basic health protocols to observe,” PCCI Acting President Edgardo G. Lacson said in the statement.

“The virus will be with us for months, maybe years, and we have no choice but to live with it. This is how other countries have fought the virus. Lockdowns will cause even greater hardships for our people,” he added.

Daily coronavirus infections could go up to 5,000 by late August if a two-week hard lockdown was not enforced in the capital region, according the OCTA Research Group.

The French government adopted a vaccine passport program banning the unvaccinated from restaurants and movie theaters. In the Philippines, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez had opposed a proposal to restrict the movement of unvaccinated people while vaccine access was limited.

Although the chamber released a statement against a hard lockdown, PCCI President Benedicto V. Yujuico said in an e-mail on Thursday the country has few choices because it needs to stop the spread of the Delta variant.

“Ideally, the most effective way is to accelerate vaccination,” he said. “If this is not possible, then I suppose the circuit breaker approach could be an alternative, but the government must help the poor for their basic livelihood.”.. Read More

NCR mayors to seek two-week ECQ in meeting with IATF

NCR mayors to seek two-week ECQ in meeting with IATF
(CNN Philippines) Metro Manila — The quarantine classification imposed on Metro Manila for Aug. 1 to 15 may still change before the end of that period, as officials will meet again Thursday to discuss the government’s next measures, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has disclosed.

Speaking to CNN Philippines’ The Source, Duque reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that Metro Manila is still under the general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” until August 15. Duque dispelled what he called “rumors of a looming lockdown” but clarified that the current status of the capital region is “not yet final.”

“That can change, correct,” he said when asked if the quarantine status in the region can still change considering the IATF will meet again with Metro Manila Council on Thursday. He added that any change may likely cover August 1 to August 7 up to August 15.

“The NCR mayors, we met yesterday and since they are the implementing units on the ground, they have broached the idea that a higher community quarantine, if not, the highest community quarantine classification is something that they would welcome, endorse or recommend to the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases),” Duque said.

He added: “And that is why this afternoon, the IATF is meeting once again to address the NCR and also other regions where spikes or a relatively huge increase in cases has been observed.”

The Metro Manila Council and the IATF already met on Wednesday to discuss the situation. But despite calls for a hard lockdown to arrest the ongoing surge in the capital region, Duterte approved the recommendation to retain the current community quarantine status for now.

Metro Manila mayors pushing for ECQ
In a media briefing, Metro Manila Development Authority chair Benhur Abalos said all mayors of cities and municipalities in the capital region will appeal to revert to the strictest measure, the enhanced community quarantine… Read More

Daily positivity rate highest in almost 3 months

Daily positivity rate highest in almost 3 months
(SunStar) THE daily positivity rate on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, rose sharply to 15 percent, the highest in nearly three months, as testing output remained low.

In its case bulletin Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) said only 34,199 samples were tested on July 26. Four laboratories were unable to report their testing data to the Covid-19 Document Repository System.

The 15 percent positivity rate is the highest since the 16 percent recorded on May 2, 2021.

There were 4,478 new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), lower than the 7,186 on Tuesday as projected, as well as 84 additional deaths and 6,149 new recoveries on Wednesday.

The new cases brought the cumulative case count to 1,566,667. A total of 231 duplicates were removed from the count.

The additional deaths, which included 53 cases that were previously tagged as recoveries, raised the Covid-19 death toll to 27,401. The case fatality rate remained at 1.75 percent.

The new recoveries brought the total to 1,484,714, comprising 94.8 percent of the total case count.

There remained 54,552 active cases in hospitals and isolation facilities as of July 26, of which 1.4 percent were critical, 2.3 percent were severe, 1.64 percent were moderate, 93.4 percent were mild and 1.2 percent were asymptomatic. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines).. Read More

House eyes ₱5M-₱10M reward for Olympic medalists

House eyes ₱5M-₱10M reward for Olympic medalists
(CNN Philippines) Metro Manila — The House of Representatives aims to raise anywhere between ₱5 million and ₱10 million to reward Filipino athletes who will bring home medals from the Tokyo Olympics.

In a media forum on Wednesday, 1-PACMAN Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero said contributions have so far reached ₱4 million, with 40 lawmakers pledging various amounts for the initiative.

“From the House, Speaker Velasco has initiated a move. He started with ₱200,000 and passing the hat to every congressman and congresswoman to contribute for additional incentive for Hidilyn,” Romero said.

“I think the incentive will go to as far as ₱5 million to ₱10 million,” he added.

Romero had said the money will be given to Hidilyn Diaz, the Filipina weightlifter who won the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

However, AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin said in a separate statement that “due to popular demand and upon the advice of the House leadership,” the prize money will be pooled and given to all Filipino athletes who will win a medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio is already assured of a bronze medal after winning against Colombia’s Yeni Marcela Arias Castaneda via unanimous decision in the quarterfinals of the women’s featherweight division.

Romero, who is a majority shareholder of AirAsia Philippines, will personally give Diaz an additional ₱3 million cash incentive. He has also pledged a ₱2 million reward for any Filipino athlete who wins a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics, and ₱ 1 million for a bronze medal… Read More

Hidilyn Diaz wins on social media

Hidilyn Diaz wins on social media
(BusinessWorld) Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz, who made history on Monday when she secured the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal, was the most-mentioned athlete globally on Facebook from July 26, 9 a.m. PT, to July 27, 9 a.m. PT (midnight in Manila). In that timeframe, Ms. Diaz overtook American gymnast Simone Biles and Brazilian skateboarder Rayssa Leal.

The four-time Olympian’s achievement of winning in the 55-kilogram class weightlifting competition garnered overflowing support and recognition from fans on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook also reported that the Philippines was the country that talked most about the Olympics on the platform, ahead of the United States and India, with the Philippine flag emoji ranking third on the list of most-used emojis on the app.

Ms. Diaz was also the third most-mentioned athlete on Instagram during the same period… Read More

DPWH expects to generate 1.6 million jobs this year

DPWH expects to generate 1.6 million jobs this year
(BusinessWorld) THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said Tuesday it expects to generate 1.6 million jobs this year.

“With the increase in infrastructure investment, the DPWH was… able to generate as much as 6.6 million jobs nationwide from 2016 to 2020,” the department said in a statement.

“An estimated 1.6 million jobs are seen to be generated from the 2021 budget of the department,” it added.

The DPWH has an approved budget of P695.7 billion for 2021.

“For infrastructure projects under the DPWH, some P317.7 billion will be implemented for its core programs, particularly, the Asset Preservation Program (P66.0 billion), Network Development Program (P124.5 billion), Bridge Program (P25.4 billion) and Flood Management Program (P101.8 billion),” the Budget department said in a recent statement.

DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar said that next year, the public can expect the completion of 15,134 kilometers of road construction, rehabilitation and widening; 1,859 bridge rehabilitation, retrofitting, replacement, and widening; 4,155 flood-control projects; 17,647 more classrooms, 186 school workshop buildings, and 99 evacuation centers.

“We are confident, and we are really pushing to achieve our goal that by the end of this administration, every Filipino will be able to reap the benefits of these infrastructure projects that they very much deserved,” he added… Read More

Iglesia Ni Cristo at 107: Faith anchored on values

Iglesia Ni Cristo at 107: Faith anchored on values
(Manila Bulletin) The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), the country’s most dominant religious group other than the Roman Catholic Church has gone a long way. It has evolved to become like a prototype of sorts that other sects tried but fell short of emulating.

From the time it was established in Punta, Sta. Ana, Manila on July 27, 1914, the INC has grown beyond what many thought it would. Its community grew from a handful of adherents to what it is today – largest entirely indigenous-initiated religious organization in the Philippines comprising roughly five million members or roughly five percent of the country’s population.

The figure does not even include believers scattered in 150 countries across the globe.

Founded by Felix Y. Manalo, or Ka Felix who served as its first Executive Minister, INC has had its share of ups and downs too. However, not even the toughest controversies coming its way was enough to delude a religious organization embarking on core values.

Looking back

Ka Felix, who hailed from Barrio Tipas of the old Taguig town in the Province of Morong (now Rizal), started carving his core values during his formative years.

It was at this time that Ka Felix displayed an independent and nationalistic stance reflective of the Gomburza, the three martyred Filipino priests whose deaths awakened the resentment of the Filipinos against the Spanish friars and authorities. Interestingly, Ka Felix was 10 years old when Jose P. Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan, and a budding teenager when the Philippine Revolution broke out.

Then a teenager, an extremely curious Ka Felix started finding answers to questions about his religion. He was a Catholic by birth… Read More

Lockdown possible if Delta spreads further, Duterte says

Lockdown possible if Delta spreads further, Duterte says
(SunStar) PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 26, 2021, said the country might again go into lockdown if the more aggressive Delta variant of Sars-CoV-2 spreads further.

“I hope it will not go any further but if something wrong happens, I’ll have to be strict,” Duterte said in another ad-lib during his final State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.

He said he will have to wait for the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government’s policy-making body on coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic response.

The Department of Health (DOH) said 119 Covid-19 cases with the Delta variant have been detected in the country, specifically in the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Northern Mindanao, Central Luzon, Davao and Ilocos.

On Monday, the Quezon City Government confirmed that a returning overseas Filipino (ROF) worker from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the Delta variant.
.. Read More