Saturday, November 27, 2021

Spread of Covid-19 in Philippines ‘controlled’

MANILA. A woman brings her used face shield in exchange for free face masks and vitamins at a makeshift station in Quezon City, Philippines on Monday, November 22, 2021, as a group encourages residents to dispose of their face shields properly due to environmental concerns. (AP)

NATIONAL Task Force (NTF) against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa expressed belief on Wednesday, November 24, that the spread of coronavirus in the Philippines has already been controlled.

Herbosa said this is based on the country’s less than five percent positivity rate over the past two weeks.

“I think medyo magdadalawang linggo na ata tayong below five percent. So I think, we can be labeled as controlled kasi walang masyadong new cases ng Covid,” Herbosa said during a Laging Handa public briefing.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, November 24, the country’s positivity rate was at 2.5 percent, the Department of Health (DOH) said in its update.

It meets the prescribed five percent positivity rate of the World Health Organization and the three percent of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The DOH also reported 890 fresh infections, bringing the total active cases to 17,864.

The country’s total Covid-19 tally was already at 2,828,660 with 47,682 deaths and 2,763,114 recoveries.

Of the recoveries, 1,710 were reported Wednesday, while there were 200 new deaths.

More than half or 53.4 percent of the active cases in the country have mild symptoms of Covid-19, 4.8 percent were asymptomatic, 21.39 percent were moderate, 14.4 percent were severe and six percent were critical, added the DOH.

Herbosa advised the public, however, not to be complacent with the continuous decrease of Covid-19 cases, saying it may resurge if people will violate health protocols.

He also noted the importance of Covid-19 vaccination to further eliminate Covid-19 in the Philippines.

Aside from the vaccination of adults and adolescents, Herbosa also called for the National Government to study the vaccination of children ages 5 to 11 to protect them from the long-term effect of the illness, which may cause the deterioration of their heart and lungs.

“Ito ang isang rason bakit ina-advocate ng karamihang expert din ang magbigay ng bakuna sa below 11 kahit ito ay experimental pa lang. Kasi ang benepisyo nito ay parang mas maganda kaysa sa mga long-term side effect,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier said it is studying the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, particularly Pfizer and Sinovac, to the said age group. The result may come out by the end of the year.

For now, only adolescents ages 12 to 17 years old are allowed to get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines, which is only limited to Pfizer and Moderna.

Meanwhile, Herbosa said pending the inoculation of kids 5 to 111 years old, their mobility, especially in crowded areas, should still be limited or restricted.

"Payag akong i-restrict, i-regulate ang pagpasok ng mga maliliit na bata 11 and below sa ating mga mall for leisure, unless may talagang kailangan at kung gagawin ay dapat siguro kung puwedeng mag-face mask, at kung puwede ay sandali lang doon sa mall at huwag magtagal at maglagi, sapagkat puwede pa rin mahawa iyan," he said.

“Kaya ng nangyari sa Europa ay sa mga unvaccinated... So syempre yung ating kabataan below 12 dahil hindi pa natin nababakunahan, malamang sa kanila mag lipat lipat yung virus at baka mahawa pati yung ating mga vaccinated at yung mga unvaccinated na mga adults natin,” he added.

Under alert level 2, minors, regardless of age, are allowed to go to malls and other public areas provided they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated guardian.

Amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that unvaccinated individuals should not be accepted in restaurants and resorts, Herbosa said unvaccinated individuals who recovered from a severe illness brought about by Covid-19, as well as those who only had first dose because of a medical condition should be excluded.

Herbosa noted that those who were hospitalized and recovered from severe Covid-19 have natural antibodies that makes them safe, just like those who were fully vaccinated.

So far, 41.9 million adults have received their first dose in the Philippines, while 33.5 others have been fully vaccinated.

Over three million adolescents have also received Covid-19 vaccine doses. (SunStar Philippines)


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