Local Roundup: Cagayan Valley, Caraga, Visayas see cases rising

The Department of Health noted Thursday an increase in COVID-19 cases in Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, and Caraga.

DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Alethea De Guzman said the three regions were among those that logged a positive growth in cases in the past two weeks as against the previous three to four weeks.

In Region 2, an increase in cases was observed in Cagayan, Isabela, and Santiago City, while in Region 7, De Guzman said most areas showed an uptick in infections, with a “steep” rise in Cebu province and the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue.

In Caraga, all areas except Agusan del Norte and Dinagat Islands reported case increases.

COVID-19 updates

The Philippines logged on Thursday 1,734 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 543,282, as two laboratories failed to submit their data on time, the DOH reported.

The DOH reported there were 31,478 active cases, which is 5.8 percent of the total number of cases. Of the active cases, 87.6 percent are mild; 6.9 percent are asymptomatic; 2.5 percent are critical; 2.4 percent are severe; and 0.62 percent are moderate.

The DOH also reported that there were 423 recoveries and 68 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 11,469, which is 2.11 percent of the total.

Preventive measures

The DOH on Thursday reminded the public to follow preventive measures against COVID-19 in welcoming the Lunar New Year today (Friday).

“As Filipinos join in welcoming the Lunar New Year, the DOH reminds everyone of the preventive measures you must observe to ensure everyone’s safety in the celebration of these festivities,” said the DOH in its statement.

“Don’t let your family gatherings become superspreader events. The DOH reiterates its call for the public to follow minimum public health standards to prevent COVID-19 transmission,” it said.

Cebu probe continuing

The DOH said the investigation on the Liloan, Cebu resident who tested positive for the UK coronavirus variant in Quezon City was still ongoing after the local government released information on the patient.

The Philippines has so far registered 25 cases of the UK variant, 22 of whom have recovered, one died, and two remain active.

DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Alethea De Guzman said their investigation would involve several cities since the patient was reported to have gone to Parañaque, Manila, Pasay, and Quezon City.

The Quezon City government said the 35-year-old patient was an overseas Filipino worker who returned to his hometown of Liloan from South Korea in August 2020.

Vaccines for judiciary

The Supreme Court has approved the procurement of coronavirus 2019 vaccines to inoculate more than 30,000 justices, judges, officials and personnel of the judiciary.

During its En Banc session last January 26, the SC sanctioned the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the entire judiciary upon the recommendation of the Office of Administrative Services, Fiscal Management and Budget Office, and the Office of the Court Administrator.

The purchase of the COVID-19 vaccines that will cost around P19 million, will be charged to the respective regular appropriations or savings, as the case may be, of the Supreme Court, Presidential Electoral Tribunal, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, and the lower courts.

PGH gears up

The Philippine General Hospital’s preparation for the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is on “full blast.”

The hospital, among the first COVID-19 referral centers in Manila, is set to inoculate “at least 5,000” of its employees, said Dr. Jonas del Rosario.

“Preparation is now in full blast…We’re also revving up on our setup, nurses who will be vaccinators are in their last phase of training,” Del Rosario said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

Rent freeze

There is currently no rent freeze for residential tenants struggling financially amid the prevailing pandemic, Malacañang said Thursday.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that lessors were still mandated to comply with the 30-day grace period for commercial rents under the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.

“There’s no freeze in rental. What Bayanihan 1 or 2 provides is a reprieve in the payment of rent,” he said in a Palace press briefing.

Roque appealed to lessors and landlords not to implement unreasonable rent increases or evict anyone for failing to pay rent.

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