March 18, 2021
In a briefing with the Health Department, FDA Director General Rolando Domingo said 83 reported serious side effects after receiving the CoronaVac vaccine by China's Sinovac Biotech while 54 were from those who received the first shot from British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca. Serious adverse reactions reported by both set of vaccinees include chest pain, nasal congestion, and allergic reactions.
The Philippine government is hoping to finalize by this week or next week the supply agreement to secure COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said. While Galvez did not disclose details regarding the specific amount of doses being discussed, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez earlier said the American manufacturer has committed to supply the country with six million of its single-dose vaccine.
The Department of Agriculture has submitted to Malacañang a draft proclamation declaring a state of national emergency, as pork supply continues to take a hit from the African Swine fever. In a memorandum dated March 17, the agency said such a declaration would “mandate and capacitate concerned government agencies, including the local government units to work together to prevent and control the further spread of ASF.”
Chief implementer of the government’s national policy on Covid-19 Carlito G. Galvez Jr. disclosed that during his trip to India last week he learned of the “booster” vaccines being developed by the Serum Institute of India (SSI). The boosters, Galvez said, will make their recipients immune from Covid-19 infections.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a virtual briefing Tuesday that general public vaccinations led by local government units may already be held by late April or early May. Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified there will be no door-to-door vaccinations, which President Rodrigo Duterte wanted particularly to be done to informal settlers so they can get inoculated ahead.
At least 30 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine Novavax are set to arrive in the country by the second half of the year. Chief implementer of the government’s national policy on Covid-19 Carlito G. Galvez said that they are now waiting for the Novavax or its distributor to secure a Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so its Covid-19 vaccine could be used locally once it arrives.
Registered deaths due to COVID-19 accounted for 27,967 deaths, or 4.9% of the total 575,875 deaths tallied in 2020. This compares with other leading causes of death last year that include ischaemic heart diseases (99,680 deaths), neoplasms/cancer (62,289), cerebrovascular diseases (59,736), diabetes (37,265), pneumonia (32,574), and hypertensive diseases (29,511).
Unable to contain COVID-19 and given the slow mass vaccination, the Philippines’ economic recovery is expected to drag and only see a semblance of the strong pre-pandemic growth pace toward year’s end, Moody’s Analytics said.In a report, Moody’s Analytics projected the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 6.3 percent this year, among the fastest in the region after India, China, Vietnam and New Zealand. But the forecast is below the government’s 6.5 to 7.5 percent target range for 2021.
The National Task Force Against COVID-19 is restricting travel into the Philippines from March 20 to April 19 in response to rising COVID-19 cases in recent days. According to a memorandum circular signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the country will suspend the entry of foreigners and "Returning Overseas Filipinos who are non-OFWs" with some exceptions.
In an advisory on Tuesday, aviation regulators announced a limit of 1,500 a day for passengers coming from abroad to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City. The limit does not discriminate based on nationality, and will apply both for Filipinos and foreigners.The cap will be in effect from March 18 to April 18.
The Philippines' failure to contain the coronavirus despite a year-long lockdown, worsened by its slow vaccination rollout, will continue to weigh down the country's path to recovery and normalcy, Moody's Analytics said. Acknowledging the role of immunizing people to boost the economy, Moody's Analytics said the Philippines was also slow to secure the critical vials. Given this, herd immunity may not be seen until 2023.
The House Ways and Means Committee has approved a measure imposing excise tax on plastic bags. The unnumbered substitute bill proposes a ₱20 excise tax for every kilogram of plastic bags removed from the place of production, or released from the Bureau of Customs' custody.
The government is expected to launch this week a vaccine tracker that will trace the progress of its COVID-19 inoculation program, Malacañang said. Harry Roque added 1.4 million more doses of Sinovac jabs might be delivered to the country this month, while Novavax vaccines and other orders are scheduled to arrive by April. Documents for the emergency use application (EUA) of Russian vaccine Sputnik V have also been completed.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) backed the imposition of localized lockdowns and curfews by local government units to curb a fresh surge in coronavirus cases, but economists warned this could dampen recovery prospects this year.
The Manila city government will place six barangays under lockdown for four days to help contain the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Isko Moreno announced. He ordered the Manila Barangay Bureau to enforce lockdowns in villages with 10 or more active cases of COVID-19 and conduct disease surveillance, contact tracing, swab tests as well as rapid risk assessment.
Nearly a million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 jabs from the COVAX facility are expected to arrive in the country this month or by early April, as government plans to roll out more of the initial batch that arrived earlier in March. Some 525,600 doses from the World Health Organization-led initiative landed in the country days into its inoculation efforts.
Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, despite their respective political upheavals, will overtake the Philippines in terms of economic progress if Filipinos continue to resist opening up the economy to draw more foreign direct investments (FDIs), according to Albay Rep. Joey Salceda. Salceda, who chairs the House of Representatives’ ways and means committee, made this realistic pitch as the chamber under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco deliberates on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 2 that will amend very prohibitive economic provisions of the Constitution.
A year since the implementation of the nationwide quarantine, the Philippines now has the longest COVID-19 lockdown in the world and it is still ongoing. What was the impact of the lockdown? What were the consequences? Did it accomplish its purpose in slowing and stopping the outbreak?
The House Committee on Ways and Means approved the unnumbered substitute bill creating so-called “Meister schools” which create an apprenticeship track to employment. They are patterned after trade schools set up in Germany and South Korea.
The Surge in the coronavirus case count has strengthened the argument for a third stimulus package, which as currently packaged is worth about P420 billion, Marikina City 2nd District Representative Stella Luz A. Quimbo said. Ms. Quimbo said the direct aid to millions of families contemplated in House Bill (HB) 8628, otherwise known as the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act, will allow beneficiaries to better comply with stricter health protocols imposed to contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).