Philippines to update COVID-19 strategy as health care workers seek ‘timeout’

The government appears reluctant to revive strict curbs on movement in the capital, saying there are other ways to control the spread of the disease. (File/AFP)
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Updated 02 August 2020

Philippines to update COVID-19 strategy as health care workers seek ‘timeout’

  • The Southeast Asian country on Saturday reported 4,963 additional coronavirus infections

MANILA: The Philippines’ health department vowed on Sunday to update its game plan against COVID-19 within a week and sought to beef up the health care workforce in the capital Manila, where medical frontliners are calling for reviving strict lockdowns.
The Southeast Asian country on Saturday reported 4,963 additional coronavirus infections, the largest single-day jump on record, bringing its total confirmed cases to 98,232, while its death toll had climbed to 2,039.
It has the second-highest number of coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths in the region, behind Indonesia.
In the largest call yet from medical experts to contain the virus, 80 groups representing 80,000 doctors and a million nurses, on Saturday said the Philippines was losing the fight against the disease and warned of a collapse of the health care system from soaring infections without tighter controls.
In a statement issued following an unscheduled meeting late on Saturday of the government’s coronavirus task force to address the concerns of doctors and nurses, the Department of Health said it would come up with an updated COVID-19 strategy within seven days.
It appealed to health care workers in the provinces and those returning from abroad to help beef up the frontline workforce in the capital, and sought help from universities and medical groups in hiring more doctors, nurses and other medical staff.
The government appears reluctant to revive strict curbs on movement in the capital, saying there are other ways to control the spread of the disease.
Still, the health department said it supports the health care workers’ call for a “timeout” and would “proactively lead the implementation of effective localized lockdowns.”
“The battle is not over, and it will not be for a long time yet,” the department said in a statement. But “we will marshal all our efforts to turn the tide.”


Putin calls for emergency Iran summit to decrease tensions, Macron agrees in principle

Updated 11 min 54 sec ago

Putin calls for emergency Iran summit to decrease tensions, Macron agrees in principle

  • Last week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would submit a UN Security Council resolution to extend an arms embargo on Iran

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Friday called on the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany to convene an emergency Iran summit to avoid an escalation of tensions in the Gulf.

China, France, Russia, Britain, the US, Germany and Iran should take part in the video summit, the Kremlin chief said.

"It's an urgent issue," Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.

"Discussions at the UN Security Council over the Iranian issue are becoming increasingly tense," Putin said, adding that Moscow's ally Iran was a target of "groundless accusations".

"The goal is to put together a blueprint that would allow to avoid confrontation, an escalation in tensions at the UN Security Council."

He added that the leaders should also agree on ways to ensure security and trust in the Gulf region.

Tensions over Iran have escalated since 2018 when President Donald Trump withdrew the US from a multinational accord that froze Iran's nuclear programme and reimposed crippling sanctions on its economy.

Last week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would submit a UN Security Council resolution to extend an arms embargo on Iran despite opposition from Russia and China.

French President Emmanuel Macron is open to taking part in a virtual meeting over the Iran arms embargo, the Elysée palace said on Friday.

"We confirm our availability in principle," the Elysée palace said in a statement. "We have already taken initiatives in the same spirit in the past," it said.