DAVAO CITY Aug. 12 (PIA) - Health Secretary Francisco Duque confirmed that there was an expression of donating vaccines by the Russia government through President Vladimir Putin as pronounced by President Duterte in the latest meeting of the National Task Force on COVID-19, but it has no details yet.
He bared the government is not knowledgeable on the quantity of the vaccines that will be donated to the country.
Duque explained that the vaccines from Russia will be free but its volume is still unknown.
He clarified that there were talks about President Donald Trump of the United States telling the president of drug company to prioritize the Philippines in its field trials but it must be paid by the Philippine government.
Duque also said that China through President XI Jing Ping also relayed the message to the president, prioritizing the COVID vaccination in the Philippines.
"Many countries have offered their vaccines to the Philippines. Incidentally, we do not have clear details yet how it will be done," he said.
Duque clarified that in the exercise of the country's sovereign right, the government will decide how the prioritization will be formulated.
He said that ideally, everybody must be vaccinated.
"However due to the limited supply, we will prioritize the recipients according to age, comorbidities like hypertension, asthma, chronic obstructive emphysema, and pregnancy," Duque said.
He stressed that a new vaccine needs to undergo safety efficacy and quality standards.
Duque who chairs the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) told the local members of the RIATF and the Regional Peace and Order Council that government agencies like the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the Department of Science and Technology are helping each other in checking that these vaccines are in accordance with efficacy and safety standards.
"The IATF would like to recommend to local government units to purchase these vaccines for their constituents, but we still have a lot of black spots, we do not have concrete information as of now," he said.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano clarified that local government units whose areas are classified under modified enhance community quarantine can ease the protocols like non-use of barriers for riding onboard pillion and limited face-to-face classes provided a resolution is issued to this effect.
Speaking before the members of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, he said that local government units may ease the protocols especially with the lowering of COVID-19 cases in the community.
Ano who is the vice chair of the National Task Force that implements the government's COVID-19 containment measures gave mayors and governors the discretion to ease the implementation of protocols especially in MGCQ areas.
"Pagwala nang new cases, puwede lang magluwag. Puwede nang walang barrier. Maglagay lang ng resolution dahil nga wala nang new cases puwede nang luwagan ang mga protocols, provided na kung magkaroon uli ng mga cases, ibabalik din agad ang estriktong pagpapatupad ng mga health protocols," he said.
Ano said flexible face-to-face classes can also be allowed in areas with zero COVID-19 cases.
He said it is still a must to inform Secretary Leonor Briones of the Department of Education on the possibility of holding face-to-face classes on areas with less COVID-19 infection.
Tribal councils in Davao del Norte requested for face-to-face classes, as the parents complained they could not help their children in understanding modular learning since they did not have formal education, themselves.
Ano said modification is dependent on the classification of the areas or local government units.
"Oftentimes, the government is focused on the National Capital Region and Region 4-A where the classification is taken as a general rule. We are actually adapting flexibility in requiring barriers and face shields in areas with low cases, as if we are experiencing new normal already, we can relax other impositions," Ano said.
He observed that there are more COVID-19 cases in the urban centers than in rural areas. (PIA XI-Joey Sem G. Dalumpines)