Google announces initiatives to support PH economic recovery

Google Philippines has introduced initiatives to support the country’s safe economic recovery through: MSME Caravan, free listings on Google Shopping tab, and Google Maps for local tourism.

In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, MSME Caravan aims to train micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) how to grow their business efficiently through a wide array of digital tools such as Google My Business and Primer app, and access to experts. The program planned to deliver on this goal via physical events when it was first announced last February 2020.

The pandemic arrived and the Caravan carried on via webinars to help small businesses acquire digital skills so they can continue serving their customers online. To date, the training program has reached more than 14,000 business owners for 2020 alone. MSMEs interested to join the training can register through the campaign website.

Aside from providing free training, Google Philippines aims to help small businesses by inspiring them through stories of hope from the MSME community. As part of the MSME Caravan updates, the company launched an online video featuring Dalareich Chocolate House from Bohol, White Beard Coffee from Siargao, and Kanami Supplies (woven face masks) from Quezon City who shared how they started and how the pandemic has challenged them to rise above difficulties.

Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines. also announced that Filipino merchants can now list their products on Google Shopping tab for free.

For MSMEs, this change means free product exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, it means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.

“Economic recovery is a critical moment for the Philippines and Google is committed to supporting the country through the best of our technology and programs like the MSME Caravan. We will continue to empower Filipinos and our partners with the right digital knowledge and tools so the benefits of technology can be harnessed for the safe rebuilding of our economy,” said Nacario.

For his part, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said,  “Digitalization is one of the keys to help our MSMEs cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help small businesses reap the benefits of the growing digital economy, including reaching and engaging customers while prioritizing their well-being. We’re glad our partnership with Google Philippines will enable us to conduct webinars and offer other resources to help small businesses digitalize at this important time.”

In terms of supporting safe local tourism, Filipinos will soon be able discover things to do and places to go in the Explore tab on Google Maps as recommended by the Department of Tourism. By following the Department of Tourism profi.e in Google Maps when this becomes available soon, people can get recommendations that range from restaurants and shopping malls to cultural attractions and other tourism activities across the country.

“The revival of local tourism plays a significant role in the recovery of our economy. The strategic use of technology will help us reopen our destinations while ensuring the health and safety of Filipinos. Thank you to Google Philippines! The DOT is excited with the possibilities ahead for Google Maps in helping our tourism establishments bounce back,” said Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Secretary of the Department of Tourism.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc.

Celebrating 113 years, CEU focuses on mental health and wellness

Tips on how to manage stress and keep your mental health in-check from CEU’s ‘Ways of Wellness’ discussion

In celebration of their 113th founding anniversary, Centro Escolar University (CEU) staged its first-ever online university convocation. The presentation surrounded the theme of “Ways to Wellness.” The topic is not just appropriate, but necessary to discuss. There are the prevailing public health issues due to the ongoing pandemic, which includes the mental health issues that plague society. For a fully functioning community, we need to critically address concerns of physical and mental health.

“In this program, we want to emphasize that the primary objective of the university during this year is not just continuing education and continuing engagement of all members of the CEU community. It is to keep everyone safe, and to preserve the health of everyone,” said Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina, CEU president and chief academic officer, in her welcome message.

For the convocation, two experts in the field of psychology were invited to speak.

Dr. Lilian Ng Gui, psychologist and chairwoman of the counseling division of the Psychological Association of the Philippines, discussed how life has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She stressed how these changes could lead to overthinking, contributing to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression if left unchecked. The decline in one’s mental health could have adverse effects on our lives, just like any other illness or condition. Given the new normal we currently live in, where we must accept Covid-19 as part of our lives until a vaccine is discovered, Dr. Gui shared with the audience ways to handle the adverse psychological effects.

Screenshot from the virtual convocation / Photo courtesy of CEU

The second guest speaker, Mr. Michael Jimenez, a nurse and teacher, complemented the discussion. While we are resistant to change, Jimenez started, our brains have the ability to adapt and restructure to repeated exposure to change. While it may be initially daunting and difficult, we are stronger than we think we are, so long as we manage the stress levels that come with change. Jimenez added that we ought to embrace whatever challenges come along because they shape us to become stronger individuals.

After the enriching talks, a question and answer portion was opened up to the lively and curious audience. Prof. Ricky Rosales and Prof. Angelito Aryan, Jr. of CEU served as moderators and hosts. To cap off the event, the audience was entreated to virtual performances from the CEU Singers Manila, Kim Correa of the CEU concert band, and the CEU folk dance troupe.

The virtual convocation was staged by CEU in coordination with the CEU Presidential Committee on Culture and the Arts (PCCA), which is chaired by Dr. Carlito Olaer.

For more information about CEU call (02) 735 6861 to 71 | | Facebook: @theCEUofficial | Twitter: @CEUmanila, @CEU_makati05, @CEUMalolo

NASA to launch delicate stowing of Osiris-Rex asteroid samples

NASA’s robotic spacecraft Osiris-Rex is set to begin on Tuesday a delicate operation to store the precious particles it scooped up from the asteroid Bennu, but which were leaking into space when a flap got wedged open.

Osiris-Rex is on a mission that scientists hope will help unravel the origins of our solar system, but that hit a snag after it picked up too big of a sample from an asteroid

The probe is on a mission to collect fragments that scientists hope will help unravel the origins of our solar system, but that hit a snag after it picked up too big of a sample.

Fragments from the asteroid’s surface are in a collector at the end of the probe’s three-meter (10-foot) arm, slowly escaping into space because some rocks have prevented the compartment closing completely.

That arm is what came into contact with Bennu for a few seconds last Tuesday in the culmination of a mission launched from Earth some four years ago. 

The probe is thought to have collected some 400 grams (14 ounces) of fragments, far more than the minimum of 60 grams needed, NASA said previously.

Scientists need to stow the sample in a capsule that is at the probe’s center, and the operation was moved up to Tuesday from the planned November 2 date due to the leak.

“The abundance of material we collected from Bennu made it possible to expedite our decision to stow,” said Dante Lauretta, project chief.

Osiris-Rex is set to come home in September 2023, hopefully with the largest sample returned from space since the Apollo era.

The stowing operation will take several days, NASA said, because it requires the team’s oversight and input unlike some of Osiris-Rex’s other operations that run autonomously.

After each step in the process the spacecraft will send information and images back to Earth so scientists can make sure everything is proceeding correctly.

The probe is so far away that it takes 18.5 minutes for its transmissions to reach Earth, and any signal from the control room requires the same amount of time to reach Osiris-Rex.

Technology, Silver Lining of Education During Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the evolution of education and has underscored the important role of customization, technology, and mobile devices in learning continuity in the country. 

This was one of the key discussion points at the recently concluded virtual round table “Education During Trying Times” hosted by the Philippine Press Institute, which brought together stakeholders from the Department of Education (DepEd), the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and the country’s telco companies, including PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart)

“We are in an era of technology and digitalization. Let us maximize all of these and continue to help each other and find solutions to the challenges being faced by the education sector,” said Dr. Dr Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela, SEAMEO secretariat director, who likewise discussed the state of Philippine education vis-a-vis that of the country’s ASEAN neighbors. 

As the leading digital services companies Philippines, PLDT and its wireless unit Smart are in a unique position to promote technology in learning. Working closely with the DepEd, PLDT and Smart have rolled out platforms to aid learning in the new normal.

“We have provided a slew of solutions that can be used for different teaching modalities to support DepEd’s Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP),” said Stephanie Orlino, PLDT-Smart AVP for Community partnerships.

According to Jesus Lorenzo R. Mateo, DepEd Usec. for Planning, Human Resource and Organizational Development, and Field Operations, “The BE-LCP is guided by certain principles of governance—the safety of our teachers, students and employees and the contextualization of teaching modalities to ensure learning continuity.”

“For online, we have device and connectivity partnerships with Google and Microsoft, prepaid Giga Study bundles that our mobile users can subscribe to, and the Gabay Guro app which can be used by teachers, students, and even parents. For the modular approach, materials of our crisis-resilient methodology—the Central Visayan Institute Foundation-Dynamic Learning Program (CVIF-DLP), are now available at the DepEd Commons. Our broadcast unit, Cignal, is also streaming content for the DepEd. And, to reach off-grid, last mile schools, we have the School-in-a-Bag,” Orlino added. 

“Scarcity has challenged us to be more creative. Our educators have become more innovative and resourceful in communicating with their learners. We welcome this openness to innovation and encourage stakeholders to continue to share and showcase their strategies that can make a difference in Philippine education,” said Diosdado M. San Antonio, DepEd Usec. for Curriculum and Instruction.

Just recently, Smart turned over to the DepEd, 15 units of the School-in-a-Bag, a portable digital classroom designed to support distance learning, even in remote areas without electricity and internet connectivity. Specially designed for online learning under the new normal, each water-resistant backpack contains a laptop, a Smart pocket WiFi kit, 20 student tablets that are pre-loaded with educational content—including mother tongue-based literacy apps and modules of CVIF-DLP.

The CVIF-DLP is a pandemic-resilient strategy that supports home learning, promotes independent learning, and works in various online and offline delivery modalities. It is one of only three supplemental learning materials being endorsed by the DepEd for this school year. The CVIF-DLP Learning Activity Sheets for Junior and Senior High School can now be downloaded for free from DepEd Commons at

These solutions are envisioned to benefit about 25 million students who went back to school last October 5. 

“Even before the pandemic, the EduKALIDAD advocacy of DepEd is anchored on four key pillars—the contextualization of the K-12 curriculum; the improvement of facilities to create an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning; the skills enhancement of our teachers to ensure efficient delivery of the K-12 curriculum; and the engagement of partners. And all these pillars are being addressed through our collaboration with the country’s telcos. We would like to thank our partners who continue to work with us in ensuring that learning continues even during the pandemic,” said Tonisito M.C. Umali, Esq., DepEd Usec. for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships and Project Management Service.

Since the start of the COVID-19 health crisis, PLDT and Smart have stepped up education efforts to provide relevant tools, technologies, and information during the worldwide health crisis. Aside from the School-in-a-Bag donation and implementation of the CVIF-DLP, the Group facilitated zero-rating of the DepEd Commons online platform for subscribers to gain free access to lessons, provided communications support to DepEd’s frontliners, launched free airing of DepEd TV in two channels of affiliate company Cignal TV Inc., and released the Gabay Guro one-stop-app for digital educational resources in time for World Teachers Day 2020.

To date, PLDT, Smart and various donors have deployed 300 portable digital classrooms to DepEd schools, which have helped bridge the digital divide for more than 80,000 underserved students and over 2,000 teachers nationwide.

Asymptomatic virus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

Scientists caution that a great deal remains unknown about people’s long-term antibody response to the virus

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across England between mid-June and late September showed the prevalence of virus antibodies fell by more than a quarter.

The research, commissioned by the British government and published Tuesday by Imperial, indicates people’s immune response to Covid-19 reduces over time following infection.

James Bethell, a junior health minister, called it “a critical piece of research, helping us to understand the nature of Covid-19 antibodies over time”.

But scientists involved cautioned that a great deal remains unknown about people’s long-term antibody response to the virus.

“It remains unclear what level of immunity antibodies provide, or for how long this immunity lasts,” said Paul Elliott, of Imperial’s School of Public Health. 

The study involved 365,000 randomly-selected adults administering at home three rounds of finger prick tests for coronavirus antibodies between June 20 and September 28.  

The results showed the number of people with antibodies fell by 26.5 percent over the approximate three-month period.

Scaled up to a nationwide level, it meant the proportion of the English population with antibodies dropped from 6.0 percent to 4.4 percent, according to the study.

The decline coincided with the prevalence of the virus falling dramatically across England — and the rest of Britain — following a months-long national shutdown which was eased over the summer.

However, the research found the number of health care workers testing positive for antibodies did not change over time, potentially reflecting repeated, or higher initial, exposure to the virus. 

“This very large study has shown that the proportion of people with detectable antibodies is falling over time,” said Helen Ward, one of the lead authors.

“We don’t yet know whether this will leave these people at risk of reinfection with the virus that causes Covid-19, but it is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others.”

‘Humble lang tayo’: Explosive game just a product of hard work, says ‘The Beast’

Calvin Abueva is a man on a mission. (PBA Images)

It wasn’t an easy 16-month journey, but Phoenix star Calvin Abueva had to endure the longing for the love of the game to come out with a performance to remember.

Many fans and spectators expected a different side of Abueva in his much-awaited return, but the Phoenix forward didn’t consider himself as a changed man.

Instead, Abueva said he’s just simply doubling the effort after being away from the PBA for a long time.

“Actually, hindi ko masabi na bagong Calvin e, ang ginagawa ko [ay] effort,” Abueva said in the live session of 2OT program after the Phoenix’s 114-110 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors Monday night.

“Matagal na panahon akong ‘di nakapaglaro. ‘Yung lesson na ‘yun ang nakapag-create sakin kung paano ako makapaglaro nang maayos.”

Read: Abueva gives Lola Siony, his No. 1 fan, a performance to cheer on

Abueva, who checked in with 7:32 mark in the opening quarter, took his time to adjust and familiarize himself with the landscape of the bubble.

Shortly after entering the court as a substitute to JC Intal, Abueva committed an offensive foul over defender Kiefer Ravena. But the usually hot-headed “Beast” gracefully handled the situation by pointing to his teammates and admitting his honest mistake.

The 32-year-old Abueva displayed mastery, not only in basketball but also in keeping his emotions in check throughout the ball game.

“Pero humble lang tayo,” the 6-foot-2 Abueva, who was named Best Player of the Game after posting 21 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists in 32-minutes of play. “Ginawa ko naman ‘yung best ko sa effort na ‘yun. Sabi ko kung ano role ko dati, mas dodoblehin ko pa.”

Abueva did not disappoint as he proved to be an instrumental addition to the Phoenix offensive core in Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins and Justin Chua.

Read: Abueva’s first game a huge hit

Wright chalked up 28 points, five assists and four rebounds, Perkins had a double-double performance of 20 points, 13 rebounds and one assist, and Chua added 19 points, four rebounds and four assists.

“Role by role kami dito. ‘Di kami nagpapasikatan, ‘di kami nagpapalakihan ng score… ang role ko dito hindi lang points, all-around,” the Pampanga native added.

With the win, Abueva can enjoy a good night’s sleep, much like his bright morning earlier as the Fuel Masters improved to a 4-2 record while the Road Warriors slid to 1-5. 

Radio Veritas offers E-Mass cards for All Souls’ Day

In time for All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day, church-run Radio Veritas announced that the Our Lady of Veritas Commemorative Electronic Mass cards are now available with no price tags attached to them.

(Radyo Veritas / MANILA BULLETIN)

Radio Veritas said the E-Mass card may particularly be offered to the families of frontliners and victims who died during this coronavirus pandemic.

A Mass card, which is usually obtained from a parish, is sent to the grieving family who lost a loved one indicating that the sender has arranged for a Mass to be said in memory of the deceased.

“In memory of our fallen front liners who fought hard during this pandemic, we offer you the Our Lady of Veritas Commemorative Electronic Mass card to be offered to the family of our fallen heroes and victims,” Veritas said in its website.

It added that the E-Mass card may be sent via electronic mail.

Radio Veritas said there is no price for the E-Mass card, but those who will purchase it may choose to give a love offering or donation through DZRV Radio Veritas Foundation, Incorporated: Metrobank Savings Account No.: 076-3-076270210/Banco De Oro Savings Account No.: 001-630011876/BPI Savings Account No.: 0213-3251-91/and PNB – Savings account No.: 105-910-013-0910.

To avail of the E-Mass card, visit and provide the necessary details such as your name, contact number, email, name of the frontliner, and the receiver’s name and email.

The announcement was made in time for the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days on November 1 and 2 when Catholics honor the souls in heaven (Church triumphant), and pray for the souls in purgatory (Church penitent).

15 provinces no power due to typhoon Quinta

As an aftermath of severe storm Quinta’s devastation, massive swath in 15 provinces groped in the dark due to power outages caused by damages in various power facilities.

According to the Department of Energy, the estimated cost of damage to the power facilities of the electric cooperatives (ECs) had been placed at P1.112 billion.

In the franchise area of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) that had been affected by the extreme weather condition, the energy department reported that 356,996 customers experienced electricity service snaps.

In a report by the National Electrification Administration (NEA), it stated that at least 23 electric cooperatives (ECs) suffered varying degrees of interruptions in their electricity service to customers.

The provinces which agonized over blackouts due to the weather disturbance include: Cagayan, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes and Aklan.

According to NEA, worst hit areas have been Batangas and the Bicol region, with many jurisdictions reporting “total loss of power due to the unavailability of transmission services from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.”

Several electric cooperatives servicing off-grid domains were also impeded by utter power loss – primarily those in Ticao Island, Busuanga, Lubang, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.

Meanwhile, the ECs that had been racked with service interruptions were those in: Batangas, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Lubang Island, Busuanga, Camarines Sur, Ticao Island, Sorsogon, Albay, Laguna, Cagayan, Quezon, Tablas Island, Romblon, Masbate, Catanduanes and Aklan.

On the restoration of power service to consumers, NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong said “our electric cooperatives have already dispatched teams to assess the damage caused by typhoon Quinta to their distribution facilities and to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.”

As of press time, both NEA and the DOE cannot give definitive commitments on when electricity service can be fully brought back to the areas wrecked by the typhoon.

Given the scale of repair and service restoration to be done, Masongsong is appealing to all consumers affected “for their patience as our electric cooperatives work to address these outages.”

And as a matter of precaution, the NEA chief advised the public “to stay away from downed power lines to avoid accidents, and to immediately report these to their electric cooperatives.”

As of yesterday, system operator NGCP indicated that several of its transmission facilities had been downed by the calamity and were unavailable, including its: Hermosa-Floridablanca line in north Luzon; Batangas-Mabini line, Batangas-Ibaan-Rosario line, Batangas-Bauan line, Bay-Calamba line, Pitogo-Mulanay line, Naga-Libmanan line, Naga-Lagonoy line, Naga-Iriga line, Naga-Tinambac line, Tiwi-Malinao-Tabaco line, and Daraga-Sorsogon line in south Luzon.

The transmission firm also reported one of its 500-kilovolt and five 230-kV lines that have been rendered unavailable: the Naga-Tiwi A, Naga-Tiwi C, Daraga-Bacman Line 1 and 2, and Daraga-Tiwi lines. The initial transmission facilities it restored were the: Gumaca-Lopez-Tagkawayan, Daraga-Legaspi, Famy-Comon and Daraga-Ligao lines.

The company said it already mobilized line crews and they are “currently conducting aerial and ground patrols to assess the impact of the typhoon to expedite restoration of affected facilities.”

These floral shortbread goodies are your next must-try quarantreats

They’re pretty and delicious!

Our list of quarantreats to try seems to be growing longer, especially as the holidays are about to come. Adding to the roster of ube pandesal and sushi bakes are these floral shortbread goodies.

Dainty and pretty, organic shortbread baking seems to be the newest trend among home bakeshops. While it is not new to use edible flowers on sweet treats, these shortbread cookies offer a more “comfort food” take compared to high-end plated desserts where the flowers are commonly used. Plus, these Instagram perfect treats are one of the best casual ways to say “I love you” or “I miss you,” no bouquets needed! I mean, who wouldn’t want to receive a box of these?

One of the many online bakeshops that produces flower pressed shortbread is Helmed by Kimi Delgado, the brand started out with banana pudding as its main product in 2016. Now a full-fledged business, has widened its product range from mango and avocado pudding to cakes, pies and tarts, cookies, and most recently, shortbread.

These floral shortbread cookies are made in small batches to ensure freshness

“I saw one of my favorite organic produce suppliers selling edible flowers. I found them so pretty and so inspiring that I wanted to make something out of them,” she tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “We’ve been in such a long, depressing period that I felt that I wanted to make something to go beyond comfort food—which I myself have relished this lockdown!—and to make something special and delicious from the experience of receiving it to eating it.”

The handcrafted, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread is made from scratch with ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, and salt as part of its master recipe. Kimi ensures that the edible flowers used for the shortbread are clean and free from harmful chemicals like pesticides. Each box contains a dozen that comes in an assortment of flavors—vanilla, almond, rose (rose water), Earl Grey (with black tea leaves and oil of bergamot), chai (cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper), and matcha (ceremonial grade).

Flowers from organic farms and pesticide-free gardens in Luzon

“I had to do a few tweaks to make sure the flowers stayed pretty after baking,” she says. “After several tests, I felt that the recipe met the criteria I set. I wanted the end result to be buttery, tender, flavorful, pretty, and, of course, delicious.”

What makes the floral shortbread even more appealing is its neat packaging, making it a great gift anytime and not just in the coming holidays. Customers are delighted with the brand’s Tiffany blue box with vintage toile-like print that adds another level of charm and excitement as you open it to see the cookies inside.

The floral shortbread cookies are packed in this lovely box

“The response has been overwhelming. Many of my customers have made it part of their Zoom gatherings, sending it to all their friends for their virtual parties. Others have told me they were ordering them as gifts to themselves,” Kimi says. “That makes me happy because it’s exactly what I wished for the product to be—something delicious and something that my customers will relish and enjoy in a very special way.”

Images are from

Ginebra faces Rain or Shine; Alaska vs Terrafirma

Barangay Ginebra will rely on the consistent numbers of Stanley Pringle when they face Rain or Shine. (PBA Images)

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel tries to recover from a frustrating loss to sibling rival Magnolia when it faces Rain or Shine in Tuesday’s Philippine Cup doubleheader at the Smart 5G-powered Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Ginebra faces Rain or Shine at 6:45 p.m., two days after squandering a 10-point third quarter lead before losing 102-92 to Magnolia in their “Bubble Clasico” encounter.

It was Ginebra’s first defeat after a 4-0 start.

Alaska is also aching to bounce back after its three-game winning streak was snapped by San Miguel Beer over the weekend in the 4 p.m. opener opposite lowly Terrafirma.

Pope Francis approves canonical coronation of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Capas

Pope Francis has approved the canonical coronation of the Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Capas enshrined at the Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Church in Tarlac.

Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Capas in Tarlac (CBCP NEWS / MANILA BULLETIN)

CBCP News said the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments approved the petition on October 1 but was only made public by the diocese on Monday.

Father Melvin Castro, parish head pastor, said although it will be the first such coronation in the Diocese of Tarlac’s 57-year history, the devotion to the Mater Dolorosa has started as early as 1923.

In 2018, the image was honored with episcopal coronation.

Castro said the Vatican’s approval only “affirms our faithful’s devotion to the Mater Dolorosa.”

“Our Lady heard our prayer,” he said.

Castro said their parish “prayed more fervently than ever to Our Lady” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Through live streaming, the priest said that they campaigned for prayers and sacrifices and held Eucharistic and Marian motorcades on a regular basis.

“To this day, our Parish has been spared from deaths caused by the pandemic,” Castro said.

The Tarlac diocese has yet to announce the date for the canonical coronation of the Marian image.

‘Jake and Charice’ docu recognized anew at MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards 2020

Another recognition has been added to the list of honors received by the documentary “Jake and Charice,” as it bagged the award for LGBTQ+ representation in the non-scripted category of the MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards 2020.

“Thank you MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards for recognizing my story. Thank you to my TEAM for the support system, ABS-CBN, and most of all, NHK (Hiroko, Akiko, Ma’am Teresita & Yusaku) for believing in me and my story,” Jake wrote on Instagram.

MIPCOM is an annual television trade show in Cannes, France which prides itself in being “The World’s Largest Entertainment Content Market.” The accolades under its Diversify TV Excellence Awards are “dedicated to championing and promoting diversity and inclusion in all its forms across the international television industry.”

“Jake and Charice”—produced by Documentary Japan Inc. and co-produced by ABS-CBN—tells the challenging yet liberating journey of how the celebrated singer Charice transitioned into being the transman Jake Zyrus. It also took viewers on the development and making of his latest album “Evolution” under Star Music.

Jake Zyrus

The docu also recently won the national award for Japan as the Best Documentary Programme in this year’s Asian Academy Creative Awards.

The multi-awarded documentary was likewise revealed to be one of the Best Arts Programming nominees at the prestigious 2020 International Emmy Awards, which will culminate at a ceremony in New York City in November. It also previously took home the Gold Camera award under the social issues category of the 2020 US International Film and Video Festival.

Learn more about Jake’s brave journey by listening to his “Evolution” album and his latest single “Miss You in the Moonlight” on various digital streaming platforms.

Kershaw, Dodgers closing in on World Series success

Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with his teammates following their 4-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 25, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

Clayton Kershaw, the three-time Cy Young Award-winner whose post-season performance has never quite lived up to his Hall of Fame resume, has put the Los Angeles Dodgers on the brink of World Series victory.

The 31-year-old left-hander came through for a gritty Game 5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday that gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead and a chance to win Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship series on Tuesday.

“He just grinded,” manager Dave Roberts said of Kershaw’s 5 2/3 innings on Sunday. “He just willed himself to that point.”

Kershaw himself acknowledged his slider wasn’t working well.

“Curveball, too, actually,” he added. But he was able to do enough to help the Dodgers secure the victory and gain a chance to wipe away the memories of World Series defeats in 2017 and 2018.

“Any time you have any success in the post-season, it just means so much,” Kershaw said. “That’s what you work for, that’s what you play for this month. I know what the other end of that feels like, too.”

The generational pitching talent has had to listen to the whispers about his post-season performance get louder as the Dodgers failed to nab the game’s biggest prize.

He has pitched plenty of outstanding playoff games, including a Game 1 gem against the Rays in which he gave up just two hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in six innings.

The Game 5 win gave him a winning post-season record of 13-12, and his six strikeouts took his career tally in the playoffs to 207 — breaking the previous record of 205 held by Justin Verlander.

With a first World Series title beckoning, it was no wonder Kershaw said Monday’s off day would be difficult.”

“It’s going be good for us, resetting our bullpen, which is good,” he said.

“But sitting around, one win away from a World Series, is going to be hard, especially when you’ve been in the same hotel for four weeks now.”

If the Dodgers do get over the line, it won’t be in front of 50,000 ecstatic fans at Dodger Stadium, but in the neutral venue of Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, where the teams are in a controlled environment as the pandemic-disrupted season comes to a close.

But 11,500 fans are being allowed at the 40,000-capacity ballpark just south of Dallas — Kershaw’s hometown.

“I don’t want to say it’s working out the way that I wanted it to, just because being at Dodger Stadium would be awesome, too,” Kershaw said. “But to get to have family and friends here, to get to have as packed a house as it can be and make it basically seem like it’s all Dodger fans, is very special as well.”

Nadal nets sixth place in Mallorca golf tournament

Spanish tennis champion Rafael Nadal takes part in the Balearic Golf Championship in Llucmajor on the Spanish island of Mallorca on October 24, 2020. (Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP)

Two weeks after his 13th French Open title, Rafael Nadal proved his prowess in another sporting arena when he finished tied sixth in the Balearic Golf Pro-Am Championships on Monday.

The 34-year-old, who boasts a handicap of 0.3, came in 10 shots behind the winner after the three day tournament in Llucmajor on his native Mallorca, Marca reported.

The world number two in his chosen sport of tennis followed up 74s in the opening two rounds with a 77 on Monday in the combined Pro-Am event won by Sebastian Garcia.

Nadal swops clubs for rackets when he returns to the court for the Paris Masters at Bercy starting next Monday.

At the French Open, Nadal beat world number one Novak Djokovic in a one-sided final to move level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles.

Vaccines – òu êtes vous?

Everybody is waiting for the vaccine to finally be released. I am practicing my French since I miss my classes already and the title here simply means Vaccines –WHERE ARE YOU?  

In a latest report on the development of vaccines, it shows University of Oxford/Astra Zeneca leading in the preparation of the vaccine (   It was delayed (it was halted in early September) because of one human trial who encountered problems.  However, in a latest report last October 23, 2020 in, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the resumption in the United States since the trials in other countries had also resumed in the past weeks. It was concluded that this one human trial who developed a spinal-cord injury is not vaccine-related.

There are more than 170 teams who are trying to develop a vaccine that is safe and will pass the standards of the Food and Drug Administration but only 11 teams are on Phase 3 –  the next stage of which is for approval for the use of vaccines. And leading the list is University of Oxford/Astra Zeneca followed by the team of Wuhan Institute of Biological Research/Sinopharm.

These developers of the vaccines are trying to race against time and hoping that the vaccine can be developed in a year to one and half years’ time. Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within 12 to 18 months from date of inception.

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not expect the vaccines for distribution worldwide until mid-2021 ( dated October 23, 2020). If this is true, then we have to wait for the vaccines until June of 2021.  But then it could also be longer than that since the developers

would have to take care of their country first.

While waiting for the vaccines we also need to survive. We cannot forever be on lockdown every now and then. What do we do since our GDP is declining and businesses are in the downturn? Everybody is looking forward when the real normal will be back or when the vaccine for Covid19 will be finally approved and released. But much has to be done to reverse the downturn until the vaccine will be made available.

For one, government health measures should be in place at the same time support measures for businesses especially the small entities which are the source of employment that helped in the reduction of poverty. Health measures means more facilities and improving the welfare of our health line workers. People are scared to go out because when they get sick, there are not enough hospitals they can go to and not enough Covid19 facilities to take care of the victims of such virus.

But life has to go on – we have to work and businesses has to open or it will bleed itself to death. We can contribute to the gradual revival of the economy if we just have to do our part of wearing face masks and shields, observing social distancing, constant hand washing be it soap or alcohol – this can sound repetitive – but we have to, since people have to be reminded constantly.

Government support for businesses is badly needed when businesses especially the non- essential ones are closing left and right.  “Similarly, financial support to affected firms, especially small and medium enterprises, to prevent job losses and bankruptcy, can help ensure that the recent shocks do not cause permanent damage to the country’s productive capacity and human capital,” said Achim Fock, World Bank Acting Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand quoted in a World Bank press release dated June 9, 2020 entitled – Philippines: Social Assistance to Poor Households, Support forSmall Enterprises Key to Broad-Based Recovery.

In the same press release, Rong Qian, World Bank Senior Economist, said the country’s digital infrastructure will play a critical role in its economic recovery. With people mostly staying in their homes in the past months, one important lesson we learned is the need for government to upgrade the country’s internet infrastructures. We ranked 119th with a 16.89 mbps average internet speed for downloads against an average of 35.96 mbps globally (source: Speedtest Global Index September 2020).

Government, businesses and citizens should see this as a wake-up call to improve on digital adoption. This pandemic opened our eyes that in order for the country to move forward we have no choice but a digital transformation in all aspects of society.

Vaccines may not readily available but we can help lift the country from the doldrums of a sluggish economy by starting to implement strategies in all these areas – health (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual), economic and digital. We are all in these together because we will all reap the benefits if we do what needs to be done.

 (Wilma Miranda is a Managing Partner of Inventor, Miranda & Associates, CPAs, and Chair of the Media Affairs Committee of FINEX, Treasurer of Negros Outsourcing Services, Inc., and member of the Board of Directors of KPS Outsourcing, Inc.  The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of these institutions.)

Let your fingers do the shopping

Why Coop Grocer is as therapeutic as a trip to the grocery

THERAPY ONLINE Easy on the eye, and in calm colors, this online shopping app is at once therapeutic and practical

Pre-pandemic, the grocery was a place I would go to when I was terribly bored and a grocery was at hand. I would spend time there without any list of things to buy, except in my head, often without any purpose, just curiosity and/or nostalgia. 

I’d like to think that, more than a shopaholic, I was a spendaholic. It didn’t matter what I bought, as long as I bought something, so I would leave the grocery with a cart packed with tissue paper, ice cream, some fancy butter, a tray of eggs, breakfast cereal, and some nostalgic snacks like Choco Mallows and Choc Nut.

Either that or I would walk into a grocery (or any shop, even a pharmacy or a convenience store), get something I need, i.e. Berocca, a new shirt, a pair of shoes, toiletries for an upcoming trip, or something interesting I saw in an ad, and walk out.

I’m not an online shopper, either, that is until I discovered Coop Grocer. It’s a simple app you can download into your iOS or Android smartphone and—presto!—you can scroll through an organized list of goods wet and dry, whether basic or indulgent, and start shopping.

It’s a first for me on many levels. Number one, I don’t really worry about food, except what to order from a complicated menu or what to choose on a buffet spread, so I don’t have experience shopping for wet goods. My grocery yields had never before gone past the snack shelves, like before going on a road trip or out on a weekend away from the city.

On Coop Grocer, though, I find myself scrolling through well-curated photos of meats, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables. If you want to go easy on your budget, choose the products labeled “araw araw,” but if you’re picky and particular, you can choose from either premium, organic, natural, or all-natural.

The selection is wide. For meat alone, you have ground pork or ground beef, pork shoulder kasim, beef brisket, sinigang cut, adobo cut, menudo cut, samgyupsal, pork belly liempo, and more, even prime ribeye. There are sausages, too, as well as longganisa, ham, smoked bacon, and beef pastrami.

Then there’s poultry, under which, just like in the meat section, you can choose either araw araw or premium or organic or all-natural. Each item has essential details like the cut, sometimes where it’s from, or an indication that the chicken meat, whether all drumsticks or chicken wings or breast fillet, chicken backbone, liver, skin, or whole, has no hormones or preservatives. The eggs, too, come in a wide variety—large, jumbo, free range, brown, aged in clay, if salted.

Coop Grocer is also seafood galore, from galunggong to yellowfin tuna, from tilapia to lapu-lapu, from wild caught mahi mahi to Alaskan pollock and white snapper. There are suahe shrimps, prawns, hard clams, squid, and green mussels. Plus all manner of dried fish you can eat with your champorado, such as tuyo, danggit, or dilis. Are you in the mood for spicy pusit?

The bakery has Eric Kaiser croissants, baguettes, eclairs, ekmek, sourdough, Danish, batards, pan de mie, plie au chocolat, and dinner rolls, Gardenia hot dog buns, pan de sal, loaf bread, and hamburger buns, and Village Gourmet bagels, tortillas, and English muffins.

INDULGE Among the treats on Coop Grocer are a wide variety of Erik Kaiser breads and Harlan + Holden bottled drinks

But I tried Coop Grocer first because my plan was to throw a little cheese party for one (for me), so from its list in the dairy section I assembled a cheese platter made of varieties going from mild to wild, from Assiago Alto, cheddar, Edam, and parmesan wedges to Camembert to manchego and manchego truffle to peperoncino and—my favorite—Roncari Blue Cheese.

Coop Grocer is for everyone. There are many treats like the Harlan + Holden bottled coffee mocha or dark chocolate, Belgian Truffles Gold, Corkers Black Truffle Olive Oil Potato Crisps, and Carmen’s Best ice cream in many flavors.

Once done with the cheese, from the deli, I threw some cold cuts into my cart—jamon serrano, salchicón Iberico, and some chorizo, plus I got myself some red grapes, fresh blueberries, and shelled walnuts and—say cheese!—I got me a party for me. All I needed was the wine to match. Sauternes, perhaps.

Speaking of alcohol, Coop Grocer is a one-stop shop. The Engkanto Lager Beer caught my fancy (and Estrella Galicia, Heineken, Thai Beer Chang, San Miguel). There are single malts, too, from Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Macallan, as well as Campari Bitter, Johnny Walker Blue, Grey Goose Vodka, Tanqueray, Jose Cuervo Gold, sochu, sake, soju, and plenty of wine red, white, and rosé. Champagne, too, like Taittinger.

Coop Grocer is for everyone. There are many treats like the Harlan + Holden bottled coffee mocha or dark chocolate, Belgian Truffles Gold, Corkers Black Truffle Olive Oil Potato Crisps, and Carmen’s Best ice cream in many flavors.

It’s good to have Coop Grocer on your phone for whatever you need, including everyday things like Scotch tape or Stabilo highlighters, Magic Sarap Mix or Kikkoman soy sauce, Air Queen Nanofiber Filter Mask or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. There’s a section for over-the-counter and prescription medicines too, and first aid essentials.

A one stop-one step-one day process, it’s easy, equipped with a real time inventory check system so you don’t end up choosing what’s not in stock, and you get your order the very next day. Plus I like it that you get updates via SMS while your stuff is in transit.

Best of all, the interface, in a color scheme of white and forest green, is easy on the eye. Quite therapeutic, just like going to a grocery.

The enduring value of salesmanship

For many years to come, the growth of the Philippine economy will still depend mostly on the entrepreneurial talents and hard work of people who can emulate the feats of billionaires like Manny Villar, Lucio Tan, the late Henry Sy, George Ty and Jose Y. Campos who built multi-billion pesos business empires literally from scratch.  That is why it is important for the government to do everything possible to help the survival of the small and medium-scale enterprises of today. There is a lot of hype about how digital technology has transformed the way  business is conducted in the so-called New Normal so that traditional approaches of starting a business or making it grow have to be  discarded and replaced  by algorithms and other sophisticated tools of information technology.  For example, the increasing trend of consumers to purchase goods or services online is supposed to make the art of salesmanship irrelevant.  Data analytics is also supposed to make entrepreneurship obsolete because innovative ideas—the major contribution of the classical entrepreneur— can now just naturally flow from the analysis of  almost unlimited data in the hands of the business man.  Such naive thinking is debunked by a book authored by a salesman and entrepreneur par excellence.

In this book entitled “Grow Your Sales.  Grow Your Business”, Raymond Domingo, CEO of STRATFORCE GLOBAL INC, makes a case for the greater importance of mentoring entrepreneurs in the art of selling.  One cannot take for granted that just because the Philippine economy is propelled mostly by the consumption expenditures of some 110 million inhabitants, businesses can grow their sales by the sheer force of consumer demand.  Electronic trade may work for some selected consumer items like groceries, food for take out and miscellaneous  household items.  Large transactions such as those in real estate, insurance, automobile, household appliances and financial services would still require the traditional tools of salesmanship coupled with a strong entrepreneurial drive.

  The principles and practices contained in this book have been culled by the author through two major facets of his life, as he writes in the introduction: several decades of experience in corporate sales management and the deep entrepreneurial roots in the challenging business environment of Binondo (China town) and Divisoria in Manila. This book will remind the reader that even in the so-called New Normal after the pandemic is put under reasonable control, the entrepreneurial drive or the spirit of enterprise will continue to be a conditio sine qua non for business success.  This is very important to keep in mind during these times when too much importance is given to technical tools and skills for business success.  The millennials and centennials may get the wrong impression that their being steeped in information technology and digitalization is a guarantee for growing their respective businesses.  As the author explains in detail in the book, a business can grow only if there is a good combination of knowing the secret of the art and science of selling and a never ending search for innovative practices coupled with the ability to take calculated risks, especially in the aftermath of the deepest recession ever experienced by the whole world and the Philippine economy in a hundred  years. 

   The younger generation of business people should especially focus on how the author sharpened his entrepreneurial ability.  Growing up in the highly business-driven atmosphere of Binondo and Divisoria, under the tutelage of his parents,  he knew what hard work was all about.  Like many of the present day Filipino billionaires, he did not shirk manual labor, ready to carry heavy giant reels of textile to and from their store on the first floor of their warehouse all the way to the fourth floor.  He literally ate dust in the stock room from hauling and piling reels of textile, suffering from the pungent smell of chemicals emanating from the textile materials.  He knew what it meant to give importance to the convenience of the customers even if he had to skip lunch or take it hurriedly. His story reminds me very much of Jose Y. Campos, founder of the largest Philippine pharmaceutical  company, who from his small “botica” in Tondo would bicycle from his store to other drug stores in the vicinity whenever a customer asked for a product his store did not have but which he knew the others had in stock. In that way, he never disappointed a customer.

Although in later years, Raymond Domingo  acquired formal management education  in such prestigious business schools as the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, De La Salle University and San Beda College, it was in the school of hard knocks where he acquired the indispensable human virtues needed to succeed in any business undertaking, having been an all-around employee, combining the tasks of a salesman, bagger, cashier, delivery crew, stockroom attendant, store manager and more. I dread to think that we are nurturing a bunch of get-rich-quick spoiled brats who think that computer wizardry will get them to the summit  of business success.

Raymond Domingo  capped his training to be a mentor in salesmanship by attaining  top management positions at Greenfield Development Corporation, Century Properties and Ayala Land, some of the most prestigious real estate companies in the country.  In this book, he highlights the three key values of an outstanding leader:  the willingness to delegate and provide space for the people he is managing; the skill to create synergy and harmony among the individuals working for an organization; and most importantly, the ability to bring out the best in people.  This book is really an outline of his own journey to become one of the top sales executives in the country.  This book comes at an appropriate time when there is great need for business organizations to overcome the depressing impact that COVID-19 has had on the entire economy. The only way the Philippines can recover the 6 to  8 percent growth path that our leaders are targeting in the next decade or so is for businesses, both large and small, to grow their sales and thus to grow their businesses.  Fortunately, as the economy bounces back from the ill effects of the pandemic, the Philippines will be transitioning from a low-middle income status to a high-middle income one, the very trajectory at which demand for all types of consumer goods and services beyond the basic necessities can grow exponentially.  We need excellent sales managers to take advantage of this unique opportunity that the Philippines will offer in the next two decades or so.  This book is a must for those who want to contribute to the rapid economic growth that the  Philippines is projected to experience post pandemic, as a good number of independent foreign  think tanks, financial institutions and credit rating agencies have prognosticated over the last ten to fifteen years. 

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Thousands flee homes near LA as wildfire rages

Some 60,000 people fled their homes near Los Angeles on Monday as a wildfire raged across more than 2,000 acres (800 hectares) with high winds grounding firefighting aircraft.

Smoke from the Glass Fire hangs heavy over a vineyard outside of Calistoga in Napa Valley, California on September 30, 2020

The so-called Silverado Fire erupted early in the morning in the foothills of Irvine, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, and quickly spread, fueled by dry windy conditions.

“It’s nuts — even inside the car, my eyes, my nose and my throat stung,” said Frederic Tournadre, a French man whose company in Irvine sent all its employees home.

The National Weather Service warned that the combination of low humidity, dry vegetation and strong winds had created “the most dangerous fire weather conditions” this year.

It said the region will remain under a red flag warning — signifying a high risk of wildfire — through Tuesday evening.

“New fire ignitions in Los Angeles and Ventura counties will likely have very rapid fire growth, extreme fire behavior, and long range spotting, resulting in a significant threat to life and property,” the Weather Service said.

The Silverado Fire is burning as California and much of the US west is under major fire risk because of dry conditions and strong seasonal winds.

More than four million acres have been devoured this season by flames in California alone, where 31 people have died in some of the largest fires in the state’s history.

Evacuations have been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic which has hit the Golden State hard and hampered the work of firefighters.

The state fire agency Cal Fire said Monday that more than 4,000 firefighters are battling 22 wildfires, with 34 million people under red flag warnings.

It said that wind gusts upwards of 80 miles (130 kilometers) an hour were expected in mountain areas of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

The critical fire weather prompted Southern California Edison to shut off power to hundreds of customers in the two counties in a precautionary move to avert any electrical equipment from sparking blazes.

Dominic Roque, Daniel Matsunaga share fresh experiences amid pandemic

Life has made us all slow down a bit, take a step back, find new ways to connect, and see things through a fresh perspective even when things are not favorable. It all comes down to what you make of it, and sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective to create a fresh experience.

While embracing a new normal, people at home began trying new things. Although we do things in isolation, sharing our experiences with friends and family makes them even better.

Passionate people are ones who always thrive. They enjoy what they do and nothing can rain on their parade.

Actor Dominic Roque is the perfect example of discovering and pursuing one’s passion. He says he misses the racetrack, but he channeled his energy into his newfound love for photography – something he can surely use to help build his business.

“As for myself, I am continuously learning more about photography each day. It gets more exciting everyday,” shared Dominic, as he took part in Heineken’s #FreshExperience campaign recently.

When he started his company, Domo Caps, Dominic also learned that there’s always a fresh experience waiting to be discovered.

Now the business has grown more than he ever expected it to, and he is exploring different ways to be productive.

Daniel Matsunaga (left) and Dominic Roque

Blogger Kerwin King says you might be feeling stuck at home right now, but he’s learned there’s always a fresh experience waiting to be discovered. He has recently found time to reconnect with two of his old passions: collecting comic books and vinyl records!

He won us over with the photo he posted of him finishing reading a comic book in one sitting, while listening to one of his favorite artists.

Jumping on the fitness bandwagon, Brazilian model and actor Daniel Matsunaga decided to try a new workout routine, using the keg as workout weights. Camille Co also got creative when working out. “No gym? No weights? No problem,” she said.

All she needed was a 5L keg of Heineken to improvise her home workout. After consuming the keg with friends, she used it as a substitute for weights.

When one pushes oneself to keep learning, that’s when a person becomes a better version of himself/herself.

Vladimir Grand says he is not the type of person who’s fond of reading books…He shared, “it takes me forever to finish one.” He improved his English vocabulary and pronunciation through reading, but he says reading books also taught him to be more patient, persevering, and organized.

Giving up on virus control ‘dangerous’: WHO chief

The World Health Organization chief warned Monday that abandoning efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic, as suggested by a top US official, was “dangerous”, urging countries not to “give up”.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP/ FILE/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“We must not give up,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

He acknowledged that after months of battling the new coronavirus, which has claimed more than 1.1 million lives globally, a certain level of “pandemic fatigue” had set in.

“It’s tough and the fatigue is real,” Tedros said.

“But we cannot give up,” he added, urging leaders to “balance the disruption to lives and livelihoods”.

“When leaders act quickly, the virus can be suppressed.”

His comment came a day after US President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN that the administration’s focus had moved to mitigation, not stamping out the virus.

“We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations,” Meadows said, comparing the more deadly Covid-19 to the seasonal flu.

– ‘We can do both’ –

Asked about Meadows’ comments, Tedros said he agreed that focusing on mitigation, and especially on protecting the vulnerable, was important.

“But giving up on control is dangerous,” he insisted.

Tedros stressed that mitigation and controlling the pandemic were “not contradictory. We can do both.”

While governments have a responsibility to ensure things like testing and contact tracing, he emphasised that everyone had a responsibility to halt the spread of Covid-19.

“Governments should do their share and our citizens should do their share, to do everything to minimise transmission,” he said.

“There aren’t magic solutions to this outbreak,” he insisted. 

“No one wants more so-called lockdowns. But if we want to avoid them, we all have to play our part.”  

When asked about Meadows’ comments, WHO emergencies chief Michael Ryan also said countries should “not give up on trying to suppress transmission.” 

“There were many places in the US and elsewhere that had a lot of trouble back in March and April using mitigation,” he said.

“When our emergency rooms were overwhelmed and we were rolling freezer trucks up to the back of hospitals, that’s the reality of mitigating a disease in the face of a tsunami of cases.

“You run out of capacity to cope. And that is the fear right now.”

– European ‘epicentre’ –

He voiced particular concern about the situation in Europe, which in the past week accounted for 46 percent of global cases, and nearly a third of global deaths.

“There’s no question that the European region is an epicentre for disease right now,” Ryan said.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the pandemic, also voiced concern about the situation in Europe — and in particular a surge in hospitalisations and rapidly filling intensive care units. 

“In many cities we’re seeing beds filling up too quickly, and we’re seeing many projections saying the ICU beds will reach capacity in the coming days and weeks,” she told Monday’s briefing.

But Van Kerkhove voiced optimism, pointing out that “countries across Europe brought transmission under control in the springtime into the summertime, with case numbers at very low levels.”

“They can do this again,” she said, stressing that the measures needed to halt transmission were well known.

“The other option is if we don’t quarantine contacts of known cases, then everyone’s going to have to be in quarantine — and that’s what we want to avoid.”