Manila Port continues shipment processing despite temporary closure for disinfection measures
THE MANILA International Container Port (MICP) will continue to process shipments despite its temporary closure on Tuesday for disinfection of facilities and quarantine of personnel, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) said on Wednesday. An employee tested positive for the coronaviruse disease 2019 (COVID-19) earlier. The port’s operator, International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), said in a separate statement yesterday that its vessel, yard and gates operations continue round-the-clock while its billing hours will be 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with kiosk’s cut-off time at 5:00 p.m. “BOC-MICP will continue to process shipments arriving at the Manila International Container Terminal. The temporary closure of the BOC-MICP building is aimed for its disinfection and quarantine of personnel. BOC-MICP personnel will continue to work from home,” the statement read. The BoC also pushed for the use of the Customer Care Portal (CCP) for documents submission and transaction processing. The bureau also reminded the public that status of shipments can be monitored through the Goods Declaration and Verification System. — Beatrice M. Laforga
Iloilo hospitals rationalized for COVID-19
HEALTH AUTHORITIES have identified hospitals in Iloilo for the admission of patients with symptoms, both mild and severe, of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Department of Health-Western Visayas (DoH-6) office, local government officials, and private and public hospitals in both Iloilo province and city entered into a memorandum of agreement on Tuesday for protocols on accepting patients possibly afflicted with COVID-19. “In anticipation of the possible increase of COVID-19 patients, there is a need to establish an initial protocol for the admission and treatment of these patients to efficiently manage the medical personnel and resources of Iloilo City,” reads part of the agreement. DoH-6 Regional Director Marlyn W. Convocar said the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo City will be the dedicated COVID-19 facility in the region. WVMC will allocate its 450-bed capacity for all confirmed COVID-19 cases, patients under investigation (PUIs), patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), elderly whether or not they have co-morbidities, and non-elderly with uncontrolled morbidities from the region. As of March 24, the region has recorded four COVID-19 cases and 211 PUIs. Five of the PUIs died while awaiting confirmatory results for the disease. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo
Bangsamoro gov’t taps military plane to transport medical supplies for COVID-19 ‘health warriors’
AN INITIAL set of medical supplies and equipment to augment the needs of health workers in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) arrived Tuesday through a Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo plane, the regional government reported Wednesday. “Yung (The) logistics involved in transporting these is very challenging, given the lockdown and community quarantines imposed by LGUs (local governments), kaya (that’s why) we asked for the help of the security sector,” BARMM Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 Spokesperson Mohammad Asnin Pendatun said in a statement. The community quarantine measures include a temporary ban on air transport services. BARMM Minister of Health Saffrullah M. Dipatuan, in post on his Facebook page, said the medical supplies sourced from Manila have been pending for two weeks. Mr. Dipatuan said their “Bangsamoro Health Warriors” are battling the new coronavirus while still attending to the anti-polio drive. The delivered supplies include personal protective equipment, surgical masks, 70% isoprophyl alcohol, disinfection solution, thermal scanners, assorted medicines, and misting tents. Mr. Pendatun said the procurement of more medical supplies as well as relief goods are also underway and more deliveries are being arranged within the week. Meanwhile, the IATF is also finalizing mechanisms and guidelines for the distribution of relief packs. “As soon as matapos natin ‘yung (we finalize the) guidelines, we will start the distribution immediately,” he said. As of March 23 afternoon, BARMM had four COVID-19 confirmed cases, all of whom have died. The patients were all from Lanao del Sur province. There are 164 persons under investigation, including nine admitted in medical facilities and two recovered. Persons under monitoring are 5,662. BARMM officials also reported last Monday that 196 of the 215 Filipino-Muslims who attended a gathering of Islamic preachers in Kuala Lumpur, reportedly linked to a spike in cases in Malaysia, have been identified. Mr. Pendatun said 35 of them have been determined as residents of BARMM while the rest are still being validated.