KUWTT: Covid cases in NCR drop May 4, 2021

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Good day. Here are the stories for The Manila Times for Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

READ: Covid cases in NCR drop

THE number of Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) has gone down, and so has the virus’ reproduction number, the independent group OCTA Research reported on Monday. The region averaged 3,144 cases in the past seven days, 18 percent lower than the previous week’s average. It is also 43 percent lower than the peak seven-day average of 5,551 new cases, OCTA noted. In the cities of Navotas, Pateros, Pasay, Manila, San Juan, Malabon, Marikina and Makati, the number of cases fell by half, with Navotas having the biggest decline at 76 percent. But OCTA cautioned that the downtrend in new cases must be sustained before Metro Manila is pronounced to be fully on its way to recovery.

READ: GCQ eyed for Metro

Speaking of the decline of Covid cases in the NCR, the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and the four provinces that make up NCR Plus may be downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ) after May 14 if the Covid-19 reproduction rate (R-naught) and the critical care capacity of hospitals stay at low levels. As of May 1, the reproduction rate was 0.83. OCTA Research projects that if the reproduction number in the National Capital Region (NCR) holds at 0.85, the number of daily cases will drop to as low as 2,800 this month. The critical care utilization rate in NCR is now at 43 percent, based on Malacañang’s latest computation.

READ: Duterte gets Sinopharm shot

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte finally got vaccinated against Covid-19 on Monday. It was Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd who administered the shot of Sinopharm vaccine, which has yet to be given an emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration. Duterte said he feels good and that he had been expecting this shot a long time ago. Duterte said his doctor advised him to take the Sinopharm vaccine.

READ: House panel okays Bayanihan 3

TWO committees of the House of Representatives have approved a P405.6-billion Bayanihan 3 measure. Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo said in a virtual interview on Monday the Committees on Economic Affairs and Services on Friday jointly approved the substitute bill to six measures. Quimbo said the P405.6 billion includes the P216 billion in emergency aid for all Filipinos. Under the aid package, 108 million Filipinos will each receive P1,000 per tranche. The aid will be given in two tranches.

READ: Doctors’ group blasts doling out of ivermectin

THE Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) criticized two congressmen for touting the antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a cure for Covid-19. Representatives Michael Defensor and Rodante Marcoleta organized a “Community Pan-Three” event together with the anti-lockdown group Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines to dole out ivermectin capsules last Thursday in Quezon City. The CDCPH, led by its convenor, Dr. Ignacio Agbayani, claimed the drug proved effective against Covid-19 in multiple clinical trials across the globe. The efficacy of ivermectin has been widely disputed in medical circles, including the PCP and the Philippine Society of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. In a strongly worded statement, the PCP said it is against the dispensing of unregistered drugs such as ivermectin for indications other than they were established scientifically.

READ: DoH vouches for Russian vaccine’s potency

THE Department of Health (DoH) gave assurances that the 15,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine that arrived from Russia and distributed in five cities in Metro Manila will remain potent. The cities of Makati, Taguig, Parañaque, Manila and Muntinlupa have received their Sputnik V deliveries from the warehouse of Pharmaserv Express in Marikina City. Vaccination sites have been set up at the Makati Coliseum, The Lakeshore in Taguig, Ayala Malls Manila Bay in Parañaque, Sta. Ana Hospital and Ospital ng Maynila in Manila, and Ospital ng Muntinlupa and Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa. Sputnik V must be stored in temperatures of from -18 to -20 degrees Celsius and their dosing regimen is also different from other vaccines.

READ: PNP chief bids farewell

FIVE days before his retirement, the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Debold Sinas, said his goodbyes to the public, admitting that leading the police force has not been easy because of the pandemic. He paid tribute to the 56 officers who succumbed to Covid-19 and the thousands of police personnel who were infected. Sinas, the 25th PNP chief, served for almost six months. He was appointed in November last year, replacing Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan. Sinas will retire on his 56th birthday on Saturday.

BUSINESS: PH factory sector contracts in April

Topping business, Philippine manufacturing contracted in April as the resurgence of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases prompted factory closures and renewed fall in output, the latest IHS Markit survey revealed. Results released on Monday showed that the purchasing managers index (PMI) sharply fell to 49.0 from 52.2 in March, signalling a marginal contraction in operating conditions across the manufacturing sector.

SPORTS: Tsukii snares gold in WKF tilt in Lisbon 

Over to sports, Filipino karateka Junna Tsukii bagged the gold medal in the female -50kg category of the Karate Premier League at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal, on Sunday night (Philippine time). Tsukii, who is of Japanese descent, defeated Kazakh Moldir Zhangbyrbay in the final of the event, 2-0, to also pocket the €750 prize, or more than P43,000.

READ: Opinion and editorial

Yen Makabenta and Ramon Tulfo are today’s front page columnists. Makabenta calls on the Department of Health to share precise meanings of technical terms during their daily Covid-19 briefings, as these are critical; while Tulfo said people would rather be wrong than dead right, when it came to the ongoing maritime disputes between China and the Philippines.

Today’s editorial believes the US policy shift on North Korea could ramp up tensions between the two nations. Read a full version on the paper’s opinion section or listen to the Voice of the Times.

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With Dafort Villaseran, this is Aric John Sy Cua reporting. May you have a safe Tuesday ahead.

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