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Local Roundup: • Virus cases inch closer to 300k • Protocol breach

The number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines surged to 296,755 on Thursday after the Department of Health (DOH) announced 2,180 new infections, marking the third consecutive day in which less than 3,000 new cases were reported.

Metro Manila still logged the highest number of newly reported cases at 802, followed by Laguna with 292, Batangas with 152, Cavite with 144, and Negros Occidental with 87.

The DOH also announced 580 recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 231,928.

The DOH also reported 36 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 5,127.

Protocol breach

The complaint filed against Senator Aquilino Pimentel III for alleged violation of quarantine protocol at the height of the coronavirus pandemic is now deemed submitted for resolution, an official of the Department of Justice said on Thursday.

Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon said the complaint filed against Pimentel was submitted for resolution on Wednesday.

The DOJ’s preliminary investigation of Pimentel case was reopened after the National Bureau of Investigation submitted to the DOJ the memorandum report on the investigation it conducted on Pimentel’s reported quarantine protocol violation when he entered the Makati Medical Center last March 24 despite being suspected of having COVID-19 infection.

The senator was criticized for breaking self-imposed quarantine protocols while waiting for his test results. One of the quarantine regulations was not to go out in public during the 14-day isolation period.

Age restrictions

The Department of Tourism is proposing there should be no age restrictions once Boracay reopened to tourists on October 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat on Thursday.

Interviewed on CNN Philippines, Puyat said they were proposing to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases that those aged above 60 years old and those below 20 years old be allowed to visit the world-famous island.

“We are proposing no age restrictions because Filipinos travel as a family,” she said.

Puyat added that those above 60 and below 20 would be allowed in Boracay “as long as they are negative in the RT-PCR test and of course [have] no symptoms [of COVID-19].”

‘Herd immunity’

The Philippines will not have a “herd immunity” against the coronavirus disease without a vaccine, a health expert said on Thursday.

“Herd immunity” means having a large percentage of a population becoming immune to an infection like COVID-19.

“I don’t think so….A threshold of the general population should be immune to the disease. As of now we only have a few who have recovered and our population is 100 million,” vaccine trialist Dr. May Montellano said in a report on ABS-CBN, quoted during a media webinar organized by the Philippine Medical Association.

Dengue vaccine

The DOH has cautioned against an international study claiming that people who were vaccinated against dengue have immunity to the coronavirus disease.

According to a “24 Oras,” the study observed that COVID-19 transmission was lower in areas in Brazil where there was a dengue outbreak before or during the pandemic.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire urged caution in interpreting the study, adding the DOH would also look into the study.

The study also examined dengue and COVID-19 cases in 15 countries in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

“If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection for SARS-CoV-2 before a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 becomes available,” the study read.

Topics: COVID-19 , Maria Rosario Vergeire , Department of Health , Philippine Medical Association , Aquilino Pimentel III
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