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12 Filipino doctors have died fighting against COVID-19 in the line of duty

According to The Philippine Medical Association on Sunday, 12 Filipino doctors have died fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair of the association commission on legislation, Dr. Oscar Tinio said, “We still have some other patients confined and fighting the illness at this time. Hopefully, we don’t add more to the list of deaths among our practitioners, our physicians." 

Tinio said over five percent of the country’s health workers are possibly on quarantine due to the nature of their work in directly dealing with the disease.

The physician also disclosed that Philippines doesn’t have enough nurses, as they would rather work “somewhere else,” Metro Manila has an over-concentration of physicians.

Tinio urged the Health department to increase the supply of medical equipment such as face masks and personal protective equipment (PPEs) in public and private hospitals.

39 coronavirus patients in Taiwan already recovered and released from hospitals

Taiwan released a total of 39 patients diagnosed with novel coronavirus COVID-19 from hospitals in Taiwan after recovering and testing negative with the virus, according to Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The bar for releasing an infected person from quarantine has been set higher at three negative tests instead of just two to reduce the possibility of a recurrence according to Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung.

The remaining patients are still in hospital quarantine under treatment while others are already in stable condition, the CECC said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan yesterday announced new cases that hits total to 298 confirmed COVID-19 infections where mostly are imported cases. 

Taiwan also confirmed its third death from COVID-19 Friday is man in his 40s who is a tour guide.


Taiwan announced its 3rd death due to COVID-19 who is a tour guide in his 40s

Taiwan announced the third person to die from COVID-19 who is a Taiwanese tour guide in his 40s, Taiwan News reported. The tour guided died on Sunday evening, he is case 108th in Taiwan. 

The man recently traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic where he possibly contracted th disease as Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang announced his death.

Chuang said that he was the leader of a tour group that visited the two countries in March. The man developed a fever on March 17 and after seeking medical attention, he was diagnosed with the disease on March 19.

Central News Agency cited Chuang as saying that the deceased was a leader of a tour of Austria and the Czech Republic and the complications which led to the man's death are not yet known.

Taiwan currently total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan stands at 298 and the latest fatality brings the death toll to three.


Taiwan opens up on hiring migrant construction workers as MOL eases restrictions

The government is revising regulations to remove one of the main thresholds for contractors of public construction projects to hire migrant workers, with the new rules likely to come into effect in early April, according to the Ministry of Labor (MOL).

Under the MOL's existing regulations, contracted firms engaged in public works must meet three requirements to employ migrant workers — the total construction project cost must reach NT$10 billion (US$330.93 million); any separate contracts must amount to NT$1 billion; and the construction period must be 1.4 years or longer.

However, after a Taiwan engineering contractors association complained to the government that the strict restrictions have caused a serious labor shortage in the construction sector, the MOL agreed to remove the NT$10 billion threshold.

Once the restrictions are relaxed, an additional 1,382 migrant workers are expected to be able to enter the public construction sector, according to the Public Construction Commission.

According to the contractors association, some of its members complained that a labor shortage presents challenges for them because many public projects contracted out have been less than NT$10 billion in recent years, leaving many firms unable to apply to hire migrant workers.

Official statistics show that the annual number of migrant workers brought into the construction sector from 2001-2006 breached 10,000, with the number hitting a record high of 33,300 in 2011. 

However, since 2007, the average number of applications for hiring migrant workers in the sector has been below 10,000, with only 4,100 and 4,400 recorded in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

According to the MOL, between 2001 and 2011, many major public construction projects were launched, leading to the introduction of a large number of migrant workers. In the past few years, although an increasing number of public projects have been launched, they have been small-scale, causing a decline in the applications for hiring migrant workers, the ministry added. (By Pan Yi-ching and Evelyn Kao/CNA)

Market in Manila shuts down as one vendor tested positive with COVID-19

The Trabajo Market located in Sampaloc, Manila was shut down by local authorities after a female vendor recently tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The patient was confined at the Philippine General Hospital last week and her COVID-19 test results came back positive on Saturday, prompting officials of Barangay 456 to close the market.

“Lockdown na raw po ang palengke dahil meron po na-trace na isang magba-baboy na positive raw po sa [COVID-19],” barangay councilor Mel Ocampo said to GMA News.

The vendor's niece and one of the people she worked with have been classified as persons under investigation for COVID-19 showed by Manila City Health Office.

Authorities said they will disinfect the establishment but still the market will remain closed.


Aircraft explodes on air and crashed at NAIA left 6 Filipinos and 2 Foreign nationals dead

Eight people headed to Japan are dead after the Agusta WW24 aircraft they were on crashed Sunday night at the runway of Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Those on board are for a medical evacuation mission which include 6 Filipinos - a flight medic, a nurse, a doctor, three flight crew, an American national and a Canadian national confrimed by Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal.

The aircraft reportedly encountered a technical problem while rolling for takeoff on Runway 06/24 in an initial statement from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

The aircraft, operated by Lionair, is air-worthy and that its pilot’s licenses are current according to airport authorities.

It is also confirmed that the same aircraft was also used to ferry medical equipment to Iloilo on Saturday.

The plane, with registry number RP-C5880 and operated by local firm Lionair, was bound for Haneda Airport in Japan. 

COVID-19 patient in Taiwan had close contact to at least 449 people, visited some tourist spots

One of Taiwan's recently confirmed domestic cases of infection with the COVID-19 coronavirus had contact with over 400 people and visited several tourist areas in northern Taiwan in the past month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Sunday.

The Taiwanese man, in his 50s and Taiwan's 268th confirmed case, had contact with at least 449 people and he visited New Taipei's Jinshan Old Street in the afternoon of Feb. 29 and Wulai Old Street in the afternoon of March 15, said CECC spokesperson Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) when releasing information on his history of travel as it was unable to know of all the people with whom he had contact.

Even though the patient started showing symptoms of coughing, sore throat, headache, fever, asthma, diarrhea, and pneumonia on Feb. 28, he was not confirmed to have the acute respiratory disease until March 28, according to CECC data.

The patient sought medical treatment multiple times because of his symptoms but was not suspected of being a COVID-19 case until March 26, when he went to hospital suffering from fever and severe breathing difficulties, said CECC official Chou Chih-hao (周志浩).

"It is possible that physicians who saw him before he was sent for testing made their diagnosis having been swayed by the fact that his symptoms were related to his chronic respiratory disease," Chou said.

The case would have been a challenge because he also did not have any recent history of overseas travel, Chou said.

"But we still remind physicians to order test for patients if they have any suspicions," Chou said.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, said that the patient's history of travel was revealed because they have not yet been able to find out all the people with whom he had contact.

"We only reveal this information if it doesn't infringe on personal privacy," Chen said.

As of Sunday, Taiwan had recorded 15 new infections, bringing the total to 298 since the coronavirus emerged in China at the end of last year, according to CECC statistics.

Globally, COVID-19 has infected 645,244 patients in 177 countries and regions, including 119,748 in the U.S., 92,472 in Italy, 81,439 in China, 72,248 in Spain and 48,582 in Germany, with 29,854 fatalities to date, according to the CECC. (By William Yen/CNA)

BREAKING: Aircraft crashes in NAIA carrying medical evacuation personnels

An Aircraft with eight on board crashes near Ninoy Aquino International Airport in a breaking news report.

According to initial reports, the aircraft lit up while take off and explode on air then crashes near Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Runway 24 of the airport is temporarily closed.

Initial report indicated that the plane loaded with medical supplies lost control while executing take off procedures.

Six Filipino crew members and two passengers which were a Canadian and an American. No survivors on the pla e crash.

"Immediately after the incident, the MIAA Fire and Rescue team were dispatched to the site to douse the flames with chemical foam," MIAA said in its advisory.

Reports state that the type of aircraft is an IAI-1124A Westwind II owned by Lion Air Inc.


Be responsible: Face mask litterers in Taiwan can be fined up to NT$6,000

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), individuals who are found throwing their discarded surgical masks on the streets can be fined from NT$1,200 to NT$6,000 under the Waste Disposal Act.

Various municipalities in Taiwan have seen an increase in discarded surgical masks on the streets since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as the use of masks have skyrocketed.

According to the county's Environmental Protection Bureau, a group of volunteers picked up more than 500 masks left lying around the streets near a hospital within an hour.

Only four masks were found in trash bins that the hospital had set up, the bureau said.

In response to the violations, the bureau said they will step up enforcement of the Waste Disposal Act. 

They have also sent out volunteers to public transit stations and hospitals to spread the message that "littering discarded face masks is scarier than not wearing one."

Broccoli to the reacue to boost immune system of the body to fight coronavirus

Broccoli is a nutrient-packed powerhouse to support your immune system. The veggie is also high in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. 

Broccoli supplies an array of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B6). One cup of broccoli provides as much vitamin C as an orange. 

Together, these vitamins and minerals help the immune system to run in top form. Another healthy compound offered up by broccoli: glutathione, the master antioxidant in the body.

Some people love it, some hate it, but broccoli is such a nutritious vegetable, it makes sense to find a way to eat more of it. Broccoli can be prepared in ways that are so tasty, you'll crave it.

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat a nutritious diet. That's because our immune system relies on a steady supply of nutrients to do its job.


Philippines' COVID-19 cases surge to 1,418 as DOH confirms new 343 infections

The Department of Health  on Sunday reported 343 new cases of coronavirus disease, the biggest increase in one day since the outbreak began, raising the country's total to 1,418.

The death toll due to the new coronavirus climbed to 71 after the DOH reported 3 new fatalities while the recorded 7 new recoveries adds up to the total of 42 recovered patients 

The DOH earlier explained that the surge in COVID-19 cases this month is fueled by the increased testing capacity of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and several sub-national laboratories across the country.

The RITM, which conducts 900 to 1,000 tests a day, has committed to clear its test backlog in three days, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday.

Taiwan's total coronavirus cases rise to 298, with 15 new infections

Taiwan reported 15 new infections of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in  which one was transmitted locally while 14 were imported cases bringing the country's total to 298 on Sunday (March 29).

As announced by  the Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-Chung, there were 9 males and 6 females of the 15 patients who have contracted the disease.

The latest imported cases, who ranged in age from their teens and their 60s, arrived in Taiwan between March 14 and 27 and began displaying symptoms of the coronavirus between Feb. 15 and March 25.

They traveled to the following countries before returning from Taiwan: the UK, Portugal, Spain, France, the U.S., Switzerland, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Taiwan’s 298 cases of COVID-19 also include two deaths and 39 who have been discharged from hospital.

Dean Koontz predicted COVID-19 disease as "Wuhan-400" in 1981 novel

As the new coronavirus disease 2019 which originated from Wuhan, China,  claims new victims around the world, Twitter users have pointed out that in the 1981 novel, "The Eyes of the Darkness," there is a disease called "Wuhan-400."

American author Dean Koontz wrote in chapter 39 of his book about a virus developed in military labs near the city of Wuhan by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a biological weapon.

Wuhan-400 has little in common with COVID-19, the novel also says that Wuhan-400 “afflicts only human beings” and that “no other living creature can carry it” but Covid-19 is believed to have crossed over to humans from animals. 

Some people were skeptical about Koontz's prediction 39 years ago, however, pointing out that earlier editions of the book refer to the virus as Gorki-400, a production of the Soviet Union.

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