Duque: âVIPsâ directly requested to get tested for COVID-19
Market-goers at Barangay Quirino 3A in Project 3, Quezon City observe social distancing on March 22, 2020. The Health Department reported 73 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of cases in the Philippines to 380 as of March 22, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Duque: ‘VIPs’ directly requested to get tested for COVID-19
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (Philstar.com) - March 24, 2020 - 9:21am

MANILA, Philippines — Some politicians directly asked the country’s lone diagnostic lab for the new coronavirus to run tests to determine if they contracted the dreaded disease, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

This, amid simmering public anger over the reported special treatment given to some of the country’s prominent personalities despite limited number of test kits and as some patients under observation die without seeing their test results.

“There were direct request made to the RITM by the ‘VIP’. I have no details of each one of them that had requested for testing,” Duque told CNN Philippines, referring to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Senators, local officials and other public servants received backlash after they reportedly used their positions to get tested despite not showing any symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — a strict qualification that other patients have to follow.

In the same television interview on Tuesday, Duque said the “VIPs” got tested after they qualified in the initial set of criteria imposed by the Health department, which allowed testing even for those with no symptoms of the infection. The testing protocols were later tightened so that only those manifesting symptoms will be accommodated, he explained.

Duque also said he was told that the RITM had to pause testing “for a while” to prevent an “epidemic” in laboratories amid the dramatic surge in number of patients, resulting in the delayed release of test results.

 “The actual underlying issue is the lack of testing. But that issue should be over precisely because we have 100,000 new test kits that have arrived last Saturday,” Duque said.

The government earlier announced it is set to open five new testing centers across the archipelago this week to accelerate COVID-19 diagnosis.

As of Monday afternoon, the Department of Health reported 82 new COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, the highest daily jump for the country so far, which brought the national tally to 462. Of those, 33 died due to infection complications while 18 recovered.

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October 26, 2020 - 9:29am

Australian health officials on Monday report no new coronavirus cases or deaths in Victoria state, which has spent months under onerous restrictions after becoming the epicenter of the country's second wave.

It was the first 24-hour period without any new COVID-19 cases reported in the state since the five million residents of Melbourne were locked down after security bungles at quarantine hotels housing returned international travelers sparked a major outbreak in July.

Under the lockdown, people in the city — Australia's second-biggest — have been barred from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons and spent months under an overnight curfew.

Some restrictions were lifted last week, allowing haircuts and golf games to return, but further easing planned for Sunday was delayed to assess thousands of test results after a small outbreak in the city's north. — AFP

October 25, 2020 - 11:08am

The United States saw a record high number of new daily COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row on Saturday, figures from Johns Hopkins University showed, as warnings grew over its spread.

The country reported 88,973 new infections between 8:30 pm Friday and 8:30 pm Saturday, the figures showed, substantially above the previous day's 79,963.

A total of 8,568,625 cases have been reported in the United States with 224,751 deaths, the highest in the world in absolute terms. — AFP

October 24, 2020 - 4:04pm

The Department of Health reports 2,057 additional cases of the coronavirus disease, bringing the national tally to 367,819.

To date, there are 47,773 active cases. The DOH registers 19 new deaths and 442 additional recoveries.

October 24, 2020 - 2:32pm

Poland's president tests positive for COVID-19, an official says.

October 24, 2020 - 1:24pm

A record of nearly 80,000 new Covid-19 infections over the course of a day were reported in the United States, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Between 8:30 pm Thursday and the same time Friday, 79,963 infections were recorded, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to nearly 8.5 million in the country.

The United States had already approached the bar of 80,000 daily cases in July, largely due to new infections in southern states such as Texas and Florida, where the virus was then spreading out of control. — AFP

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