Early screening can quell COVID-19 spread â PGH
Hospital officials Hian Kua (R) and Mario Juco inspect the interior of the holding area for patients suspected of being infected with a deadly SARS-life virus which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan before they are put in isolation, at the Manila Doctors Hospital compound in Manila on January 31, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Early screening can quell COVID-19 spread — PGH
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - March 12, 2020 - 12:01pm

MANILA, Philippines —  Early screening will help quell the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials of the University of the Philippines said Thursday morning. 

Gerardo Legaspi, director of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), confirmed this in a media briefing that day. 

According to Legaspi, house care is an option for confirmed patients of the new pathogen, while only those with severe symptoms would have to be admitted in hospitals.

READ: How the Department of Health processes potential COVID-19 cases

"Dapat po nating isipin na ang pag-alaga sa bahay ay option po," he said, adding that the outpatient department of the PGH saw around 3,000 patients a day. 

"Ang problemang ito, hindi po sa hospital ang sagot. Ang sagot ay nasa komunidad din."

(We should consider home care as an option. This problem, the answer is not in the hospital only. The answer is also in the community.)

Speaking of early screening, the PGH director highlighted that anyone who fell under at least two of the three "screening tools" set by the DOH were already considered persons under investigation and should be tested. 

According to a bulletin dated February 26 on the department’s Screening Tool, the DOH looks at three main factors before placing an individual under Patient Under Investigation status: 

  • Signs and symptoms: Does the person exhibit any respiratory symptoms linked to the novel coronavirus? Does the person have a fever over 38.0 degrees?
  • Travel history in the past fourteen days to areas with issued travel restrictions
  • History of exposure to confirmed cases or other PUIs

"Ang gamot po sa COVID-19 ay [pagiging] healthy individual na hiwalay po sa pasyenteng mas malala, at ang gamot po sa COVID-19 is our natural ability to combat the virus," he said. 

"Hindi po kailangan lahat ng simptomas lumabas para maging positive o negative."

(The treatment for COVID-19 is being a healthy individual separated from more severe patients, and the treatment for COVID-19 is our natural ability to combat the virus. You do not need all the symptoms to come out to become positive or negative.)

READ: FDA allows use of test kits developed by UP scientists as virus spreads locally

Dr. Raul Destura, who was credited with inventing the local coronavirus kit, said the university was "in the final phase" before releasing it commercially. 

"Ang ating mga Filipino scientists ay ‘di ilalabas itong kit kung walang malalim na paniniwala sa safety nito," Legaspi added.

(Our Filipino scientists will not release this kit without a deep belief in its safety.)

Asked about when the testing kit recently developed by local scientists can be deployed, UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla said, "Not all hospitals could run COVID-19 testing because there is a protocol for the local kit."

"We're going to wait for validation which will take about to two to three weeks. After that, it will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for validation," she added.  

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: December 1, 2020 - 9:45pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

December 1, 2020 - 9:45pm

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 1,468,873 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Tuesday.

At least 63,227,470 cases have been registered. Of these, at least 40,255,800 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. — AFP

December 1, 2020 - 4:06pm

The Department of Health reports 1,298 additional cases of the coronavirus disease. This brings the national tall to 32,925.

To date, there are 25,725 active. The health department registers 27 new deaths and 135 more recoveries.

December 1, 2020 - 2:02pm

The UN says that $35 billion would be needed for aid in 2021, as the pandemic leaves tens of millions more people in crisis, and with the risk of multiple famines looming.

The world body's annual Global Humanitarian Overview estimated that 235 million people worldwide will need some form of emergency assistance next year -- a staggering 40-percent increase in the past year.

"The increase arises almost entirely because of Covid-19," United Nations emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock says. — AFP 

December 1, 2020 - 12:36pm

Canada's budget deficit is projected to balloon to a record US$284 billion as government spending skyrockets to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the finance minister announces. 

The amount for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which began on April 1, is higher than an estimate of Can$343 billion announced in July and almost 20 times higher than the shortfall in the last budget released in March 2019, before the pandemic.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland also says the government was preparing to spend another Can$70 billion to Can$100 billion over three years to jolt the economy once the pandemic is over. — AFP 

November 30, 2020 - 12:49pm

America should prepare for a "surge upon a surge" in coronavirus cases as millions of travelers return home after the Thanksgiving holiday, top US scientist Anthony Fauci warned Sunday.

The United States is the world's worst-affected country, with 266,831 COVID-19 deaths, and US President Donald Trump's administration has issued conflicting messages on mask-wearing, travel and the danger posed by the virus.

"There almost certainly is going to be an uptick because of what has happened with the travel," Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union." 

Travel surrounding Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday made this the busiest week in US airports since the pandemic began.

"We may see a surge upon a surge" in two or three weeks, Fauci added. "We don't want to frighten people, but that's the reality." — AFP

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