The Philippines on Thursday it deported 312 Chinese nationals arrested in October over alleged involvement in telecommunications fraud, the Bureau of Immigration said.
The Chinese nationals were among the 512 foreigners arrested in Oct. 9, during a raid on an illegal business process outsourcing office in Pasay City in metro Manila, the bureau said.
The office was allegedly conducting telephone scamming operations, using phishing techniques to defraud or extort their victims, mostly Chinese nationals from the mainland.
The other workers arrested in the raid were from Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Indonesia.
The Chinese nationals would be leaving Manila via five chartered China Eastern flights to Shijjiaxuang, in Hebei province, and Changchun, in Jilin province, said Fortunato Manahan Jr, chief of the bureau’s intelligence unit.
Manahan added that the rest of the arrested individuals were being held at a police facility pending their deportation.
Immigration Chief Commissioner Jaime Morente warned foreigners against using the country as a base for their illegal activities.
“Let this serve as a warning to aliens planning to use the country as a base for their illegal operations.
“Expect more arrests in the coming days.’’ he said.
Edited by Halima Sheji/Ese E. Ekama
Philippine capital, surrounding provinces return to lockdown
More than 27 million people in the Philippines on Tuesday went back under stricter lockdown measures as the Health Department reported a record number of new coronavirus cases.
The department reported 6,352 additional coronavirus infections, pushing the country’s total caseload to 112,593.
The department added that death toll also rose to 2,115, following 11 additional deaths.
Meanwhile, almost half of the additional cases were confirmed in the Metro Manila region, which has been placed under what is locally called modified enhanced community quarantine for the next 15 days.
The protocol was also imposed in the four surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.
Also, public transport, private and government offices and other commercial services were suspended in the five regions, while people were prohibited from leaving their homes unless for essential trips.
Dine-in services in restaurants were also suspended, and some of the 16 cities in Metro Manila re-imposed a ban on alcohol.
Catholic churches were once again closed to the public, as well as beauty salons and gyms.
Coronavirus cases in the Philippines have been increasing since the government began to ease restrictions in June in a bid to revive the economy.
One of the doctors who joined the call warned that if the infections were not halted, the country would be the next New York City, where people die on stretchers due to lack of space in hospitals.
Health Undersecretary Maria Vergeire urged the public to follow minimum health standards of wearing face masks, frequent handwashing and maintaining physical distance.
“We all know the situation in the country. We all know that as long as there is no vaccine or cure, we have to learn to live with the virus.
“That is why we are always reminding the public to follow health protocols,” she said.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
9 people including 3 soldiers killed in southern Philippine clash
Six suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists and three soldiers were killed in a clash at a town in the remote southern Philippine Sulu province on Friday, the military said.
Army Major Arvin Encinas, the spokesperson for the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said three soldiers were also wounded when an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf terrorists opened fire on patrolling troops around 11:00 a.m. local time in Patikul town.
Encinas said in a statement that the terrorists fled after a 40-minute firefight. The slain and injured soldiers were taken to a local hospital for treatment, he added.
Major General Corleto Vinluan, commander of the military’s Joint Task Force Sulu, said that troops are now pursuing the Abu Sayyaf terrorists behind the attack.
The Abu Sayyaf Group is considered the smallest but the most violent of the extremist groups in the southern Philippines. The group, which has estimated 400 fighters, is active in the impoverished island provinces of Sulu and Basilan.
The group is responsible for the series of kidnappings, deadly bombings, ambushes of security personnel, public beheadings, assassinations, and extortion in the Mindanao region.
The group, which has been terrorizing the Philippine southern region since the 1990s, preys on foreign tourists, businessmen and fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from Indonesia and Malaysia and hide them in Philippine jungles or remote islands.
Vietnam registers 1st death of COVID-19 as Philippines, India, Japan’s Tokyo see record number of daily cases
Vietnam registered its first COVID-19 death on Friday amid a resurgence of infections in the country, while the Philippines, India and Japan’s Tokyo confirmed record numbers of daily cases.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Health confirmed that a 70-year-old Vietnamese man died of COVID-19, which is the country’s first death from the disease, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The patient, with a history of heart failure and pneumonia, tested positive for COVID-19 on July 26 and died in the early morning on Friday, according to the news agency.
After going through over three months without any local transmission, Vietnam has seen a number of infections in the community since July 25.
Fiji also reported its first death from COVID-19 infection on the same day. Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete said a 66-year-old Fijian man, who had a history of cardiac problems and returned from India early July, died on Thursday in the hospital in Lautoka, Fiji’s second-largest city.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 93,354 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 4,063 new cases, the largest single-day increase since the highly-infectious disease emerged in the country in January.
India also recorded the highest ever single-day spike with 55,078 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to 1,638,870, according to the federal health ministry. This is the second consecutive day when fresh COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 50,000.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike confirmed 463 new COVID-19 infections in the capital, with the figure marking a new record daily increase, eclipsing the previous single-day record of 367 on Thursday.
Australia recorded the second-highest daily cases while the death toll is on the brink of surpassing 200, with a total number of 196 deaths and 651 new cases during the last 24 hours.
This is the second-largest daily number in the country after Thursday’s record of 747, according to the update from Michael Kidd, the Australian government deputy chief medical officer.
According to the federal government, hundreds of workers from the Pacific are set to be allowed to enter Australia to help farmers harvest crops despite border closures.
A COVID-19 candidate vaccine developed in South Australia (SA) has cleared the first phase of testing, according to local media’s report.
Bangladesh reported 2,772 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to over 237,000. Nasima Sultana, a senior Health Ministry official, said in a briefing that 28 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
Malaysia reported another 12 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 8,976. Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement that five of the cases are imported and seven more are local transmissions.
The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 2,040 within one day to 108,376, with the death toll adding by 73 to 5,131, the Health Ministry said.
New Zealand reported no new cases of COVID-19, with the number of active cases in the country standing at 20, all in managed isolation facilities, according to the Ministry of Health.
South Korea reported 36 more cases compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 14,305.
COVID-19 cases in Philippines surge to 93,354 with record-high 4,063 new cases
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 93,354 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 4,063 new cases on Friday, the largest single-day increase in confirmed cases since the highly-infectious disease emerged in the country in January.
The DOH said that the number of recoveries further rose to 65,178 after it reported 165 patients have survived the disease.
The death toll also increased to 2,023 after 40 more patients have succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH said.
In a pre-recorded public address aired on Friday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Metro Manila, which has the bulk of COVID-19 cases in the country, will remain under general community quarantine until Aug. 15 due to the steady rise of cases, while other areas in the country are put under varying degrees of quarantine.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Friday told a virtual media forum that government is mulling to require Filipinos to use face shields when in public, particularly in low ventilation settings such as public transportation as an “extra step” to prevent virus transmission.
Lopez said studies have shown that wearing of face shields, in addition to wearing of masks and physical distancing, would further reduce virus transmission in low ventilation settings.
Wearing of masks, washing of hands, and the practice of social distancing are part of the minimum public health standards imposed by the government.
An expert from the University of the Philippines on Friday said that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines is projected to hit 150,000 by the end of August.
Although the coronavirus reproduction rate in Metro Manila has decreased from 1.75 to between 1.3 and 1.4, Professor Ranjit Rye said the rate is still high. “(The rate) should be below 1,” he added.