(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 26 May 2022) Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting the southern section of Mindanao. The entire Caraga region will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms caused by Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).



Tuesday, March 22, 2022

No removal of mask mandate soon to contain COVID-19, says President Duterte

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday said that he is not ready to lift the existing mask mandate, citing its importance in containing the spread of COVID-19 particularly with the discovery of a new strain of the virus in Israel.

“But you know itong mask na ano maraming nagtatanong, alam mo I am not ready to order the removal of the mask. Pero siguro ‘yung plastic na ano cover puwede na ‘yun pero it has I said it has done a lot of good that prevented the contamination from spreading,” the President said during his weekly Talk to the People briefing.

“So matagal pa ito. And there are reports I said that I don’t know if it’s — subject to confirmation — na may bagong COVID found in Israel. So whether we like it or not, kung totoo ‘yan, it will reach again the shores of our country.”

The President asked Congress to retain the unspent fund under the Bayanihan Law if ever it decides on new legislation. The money, he said, was returned to the National Treasury.

“But huwag galawin ‘yan kasi that is in preparation for another surge of another variant. Nagmu-mutate itong monster na ito and hindi natin malaman kung ano talaga ang katapusan nito. But I guess it would be there or here for the longest time.”

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III supported the President’s stance on masking policy, saying data shows complying with minimum public health standards (MPHS) is very effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“So, sa nakitang magandang dulot ng compliance sa MPHS, aming inirerekomenda, Mr. President, na huwag natin itong pakawalan. Tama po ‘yung sinabi niyo kanina, Mr. President. Thank you for underscoring the importance of our minimum public health standards,” Duque said during his report to the President.

“Masking, hindi pa natin po ito puwedeng pakawalan. Kinakailangan po patuloy natin sundin ang panuntunan ng atin pong Department of Health at ng IATF. Ngayon, sa konteksto naman, sa Pilipinas naman ang paggamit — itong lokal na mga datos, naobserbahan din natin ang magandang bunga ng pagsunod sa MPHS.”

The health chief reported that from March 15 to 21, the country has recorded 3,431 new COVID-19 cases, or 490 new infections a day.

This figure is lower than the cases recorded from March 8 to 14, which posted 3,951 new cases, with daily average of 564 cases.

Infections are also decreasing in the National Capital Region (NCR), Duque reported. The recent daily average is at 158, or 5-percent lower compared to the 166 cases per day recorded from March 8 to 14, which is consistent with the decreasing trend nationally.

Duque said that aside from the strong adherence to the minimum public health standards, the country’s wide vaccination coverage is another factor driving the drop in the number of infections.

As of March 2022, 72 percent of the target population is fully vaccinated, which is equivalent to 65 million Filipinos getting the full dose of the jab. PND