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Researchers working overtime to better understand Omicron, now a variant of concern according to WHO

Nov. 29, 2021 6:41 p.m.

WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).  This decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes. Here is a summary of what is currently known.  

Current knowledge about Omicron 

Researchers in South Africa and around the world are conducting studies to better understand many aspects of Omicron and will continue to share the findings of these studies as they become available.  

Transmissibility: It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible (e.g., more easily spread from person to person) compared to other variants, including Delta. The number of people testing positive has risen in areas of South Africa affected by this variant, but epidemiologic studies are underway to understand if it is because of Omicron or other factors.  

Severity of disease: It is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.  Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection with Omicron.  There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with Omicron are different from those from other variants.  Initial reported infections were among university students—younger individuals who tend to have more mild disease—but understanding the level of severity of the Omicron variant will take days to several weeks.  All variants of COVID-19, including the Delta variant that is dominant worldwide, can cause severe disease or death, in particular for the most vulnerable people, and thus prevention is always key. 

Effectiveness of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection 

Preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron (ie, people who have previously had COVID-19 could become reinfected more easily with Omicron), as compared to other variants of concern, but information is limited. More information on this will become available in the coming days and weeks. 

Effectiveness of vaccines: WHO is working with technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines. Vaccines remain critical to reducing severe disease and death, including against the dominant circulating variant, Delta. Current vaccines remain effective against severe disease and death.   

Effectiveness of current tests: The widely used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with Omicron, as we have seen with other variants as well. Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests.  

Effectiveness of current treatments:   Corticosteroids and IL6 Receptor Blockers will still be effective for managing patients with severe COVID-19. Other treatments will be assessed to see if they are still as effective given the changes to parts of the virus in the Omicron variant.  

Studies underway 

At the present time, WHO is coordinating with a large number of researchers around the world to better understand Omicron. Studies currently underway or underway shortly include assessments of transmissibility, severity of infection (including symptoms), performance of vaccines and diagnostic tests, and effectiveness of treatments.    

WHO encourages countries to contribute the collection and sharing of hospitalized patient data through the WHO COVID-19 Clinical Data Platform to rapidly describe clinical characteristics and patient outcomes.  

More information will emerge in the coming days and weeks. WHO’s TAG-VE will continue to monitor and evaluate the data as it becomes available and assess how mutations in Omicron alter the behaviour of the virus.  

Recommended actions for countries 

As Omicron has been designated a Variant of Concern, there are several actions WHO recommends countries to undertake, including enhancing surveillance and sequencing of cases;  sharing genome sequences on publicly available databases, such as GISAID; reporting initial cases or clusters to WHO; performing field investigations and laboratory assessments to better understand if Omicron has different transmission or disease characteristics, or impacts effectiveness of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or public health and social measures.  More detail in the announcement from 26 November.  

Countries should continue to implement the effective public health measures to reduce COVID-19 circulation overall, using a risk analysis and science-based approachThey should increase some public health and medical capacities to manage an increase in cases.  WHO is providing countries with support and guidance for both readiness and response.  

In addition, it is vitally important that inequities in access to COVID-19 vaccines are urgently addressed to ensure that vulnerable groups everywhere, including health workers and older persons, receive their first and second doses, alongside equitable access to treatment and diagnostics.  

Recommended actions for people 

The most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others; wear a well-fitting mask; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue; and get vaccinated when it’s their turn.  

WHO will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available, including following meetings of the TAG-VE. In addition, information will be available on WHO’s digital and social media platforms.  (From the World Health Organization)

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Globe offers affordable, longer roaming services as Japan reopens doors, S. Korea resumes tourist visa application

June 17, 2022 8:22 p.m.

Prepare your passports and get ready for the reopening of international travel! As you explore the world, no need to worry about connectivity overseas as Globe Roaming has the right data packs for you, whether for a 3-day or 30-day stay.

Japan is now accepting travelers from the Philippines, which is among the 98 “blue” countries whose travelers are no longer required to get tested or quarantined for COVID-19 upon arrival. For those traveling to Japan, Globe is currently offering 5G services through SoftBank.

You can also start applying for a short-term tourist visa to visit your favorite K-pop paradise, South Korea, where Globe is offering 4G and 5G roaming services through SK Telecom and KT Corp.

“The world is gradually opening up two years since the pandemic put travel on hold. More Filipinos are now opting to spend more time in other countries to make up for lost time in terms of travel, and they will be on the lookout for the safest and most convenient way to stay connected. As they explore the world once again, Globe will be with them and deliver data roaming that’s within their reach, even for longer travel periods,” said Coco Domingo, Vice President, Globe Postpaid and International Business.

As Filipinos prepare to maximize their trips abroad, Globe has introduced discounted data roaming called Roam Surf Longer Stay.  You can now enjoy more gigabytes for more days while spending less.

Simply choose from 3, 5, 7, 15 or 30-day offers which come with 3GB up to 20GB data, and get up to 50% off (vs the daily Roam Surf rate).

To avail of Roam Surf Longer Stay, simply dial *143# and press the call button. And then do the following steps::

●        For Postpaid, choose Roaming & Intl > Roaming > Data Promos

If you’re a Postpaid subscriber, it is best to subscribe to a Globe data roaming pack a few hours prior to your departure from the Philippines. Note, however, that if you wish to use Roam Surf 399, no prior registration is required. You just need to turn on your mobile data and data roaming upon landing at your country of destination.

●        For Prepaid, choose MyAccount > Roaming & Intl > Roaming > Data Promos

●        For TM, choose Roam > Data Roaming Promos

You should already be subscribed before turning on mobile data and data roaming on your phone in a foreign country.

This easy-to-use roaming service not only becomes more affordable the longer you are abroad but is also very convenient.  You can safely connect from your phone without lugging around another device such as a pocket WiFi or buying a local SIM.

“Roam Surf Longer Stay is meant for cross-country travels as it is currently available in over 70 countries worldwide. Longer Stay promos also give you bigger savings the longer you use it,” Domingo said.

Globe is all set to provide connectivity requirements of Filipino tourists with the expected surge in global travel.  Despite strict travel restrictions during the height of the global health crisis, Globe accelerated its roaming rollout, particularly 5G, to more countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe as part of its commitment to deliver a #1stWorldNetwork.

This innovative service is part of Globe’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which highlight the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development under SDG No. 9.

To learn more about Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph. For more info on Roam Surf Longer Stay, visit https://glbe.co/PostpaidRSLS (for Postpaid) or https://glbe.co/RSLongerStay (for Prepaid).

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Keep your passwords secure with Google; celebrate World Password Day on May 5

May 2, 2022 9:42 p.m.

Much of our lives now revolve around the internet. This means having different accounts in different social media platforms, applications, and websites. With this, it is only imperative to have strong passwords to ensure security.

Strong passwords help prevent personal information and files from being compromised. Ideally, they need to be long and complex with at least 12 characters, made up of a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Passwords must exclude personal information that others may easily know, like birthdays or names of pets.

It should also be unique for every account so others remain safe when one gets compromised. For added protection, activating 2-Step Verification is also one way to get extra security.

Creating different passwords and trying to remember all them can be hard, that’s why it’s important to use a password manager.

With Google Password Manager, not only can you easily generate strong passwords, you can save, manage and keep them secure across multiple accounts.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Google Password Manager makes it simple to generate strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts when you’re using Chrome browser, on Android and Chrome on iOS.
  1. Google Password Manager helps remember all your saved passwords. You will only need to remember your Google account password – the only password you’ll ever need to remember – and let Google Password Manager take care of the rest. It autofills your secure password every time you visit a site or sign in with your Google account logged in.
  1. Google checks 1 billion passwords for breaches, daily. Google Password Manager will notify you in real-time about unsafe or stolen passwords, and help you fix them in a single tap. If you get an alert from Chrome saying that a password and username combination that you use has been published on the internet as a result of a data leak on a third party website or app, all you need to do is tap “Check passwords” and follow the prompts to change your password for each compromised site.
  1. Using a password manager can help reduce the hassle of remembering, resetting, or worrying about passwords. Often, you can run a Password Checkup anytime to tell you if any of your passwords have been compromised in a third-party breach; being reused across different sites; or should be strengthened. You can quickly update any weak or compromised accounts with stronger passwords using Google Password Manager.
  1. To free people from having to manually enter passwords into the password manager, Google introduced the Password Import feature in 2021, which allows you to easily upload up to 3,000 passwords at a time from various third party sites into Google Password Manager. You can also ​​store up to 10,000 passwords in your Google Account. Once you’ve imported your passwords, you can run a password checkup to how strong those passwords are, in one go.

This World Password Day (May 5) and beyond, remember to always keep your accounts secure. As passwords remain a part of our digital lives, take advantage of tools like Google Password Manager to make it easier to keep yourselves secure online as well.

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LG Monitor Madness on 5.5 Lazada Live

May 2, 2022 9:36 p.m.

As working from home and hybrid work setups are becoming the norm, the requirement for high-performance monitors that provide eye comfort increases exponentially.

To meet this need, LG focuses its 5.5 Lazada grand celebration into the different monitor lineups they offer.

The goal is to help more individuals get access to new monitors that improve productivity and offer stunning picture quality.

The 5.5 Lazada grand celebration will be hosted by LG brand ambassador Luis Manzano together with Arri of Shoppertainment and Kyra Tan of LG Electronics, Product Manager for IT Monitor.

For the duration of the promo, select LG products in Lazada will have a 10% discount and free shipping. Special bundles will also be sold off and 500 Peso vouchers will be given away. The Lazada Live event will focus on 4 monitors that LG offers, each of which have their own unique strengths that will help consumers.

The LG Ultragear 32-inch Full HD Gaming Monitor offers high performance whether you’re a professional gamer or a hobbyist. An ultra-fast speed of 165Hz allows gamers to see the next frame quickly and makes the image appear smooth.

You can respond quickly to opponents and aim at targets easily.

The regular price of the 32” Ultragear is P20,199, but just for 5.5, it has a special price of P18,179. Each purchase also includes a P500 voucher. 

LG 24-inch Full HD Monitor is a cost-efficient upgrade to increase your productivity at home. It provides true color with wide angles.

Its IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology highlights the performance of liquid crystal displays. Response times are shortened, color reproduction is improved, and users can view the screen at virtually any angle.

This is one of LG’s most affordable monitors with an SRP of P8,399. With the 10% promo, the price is just P7,559 and also includes a P200 voucher for free shipping. 

LG Ultrawide 34-inch Full HD IPS Monitor gives you all the space you need to multitask effectively.

The 21:9 UltraWide Full HD display with a resolution of 2560×1080 offers more screen space compared to 16:9 Full HD resolution displays.

The extra room allows you to keep multiple windows open and reduce the need to flip back and forth between them.

The original price is P19,899, but will be down to P17,909 for the duration of the promo period.

It also includes free shipping and a P500 voucher.LG 22-inch Full HD Monitor is another affordable monitor if you want to upgrade.

This is actually one of the freshest sizes this 2022 in LG’s monitor line-up. It offers 1080p Full HD resolution that delivers brilliant images that pop with vibrant details.

You can mount it on a wall or use an ergonomic stand to help you get a comfortable fit. The 22-inch monitor will have a special price of P6,999 for the 5.5 grand celebration.

As a special treat to viewers, LG will also be raffling off four monitors during the event. LG monitor models 22MP410-B.APH, 24MP400-B.APH, 32GN500-B.APH, and 34WP500-B.APH will be given away through the course of the grand celebration.

Don’t miss out on your chance to win! Catch Lazada’s 5.5 grand celebration on Thursday, May 5, 11AM both on Lazada Live and Facebook Live.  

You can visit lg.com/ph for more information. You can purchase LG monitors from authorized retailers or in LG’s flagship online stores in Lazada and Shopee. 

LG is a Big Winner at This Year’s Red Dot and CES 2022 Innovation Awards

LG Electronics has taken home 25 honors from this year’s Red Dot Award, continuing its success at the prestigious annual design awards program.

Among the company’s impressive haul were three Best of the Best accolades for the LG washer and dryer with an upgradability option, a new LG lifestyle OLED TV and the LG DualUp Monitor Ergo.

LG PuriCare AeroTower air purifier and the LG tiiun were recognized in the Innovative Product category.

Other LG products honored at this year’s awards include the LG One:Quick Flex all-in-one display solution, LG UltraGearTM gaming laptop, LG OLED evo Gallery Edition and other OLED evo TV models, all lauded for their aesthetically pleasing and user-centric designs.

The Red Dot Award is one of the most prestigious competitions for product design, communication design and design concepts, with the distinctive Red Dot winner logo seen as a respected mark of quality around the world.

This year, approximately 7,800 products were submitted for the jury’s consideration.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics also swept up a grand collection of CES® awards at the 2022 event across its home appliance, home entertainment and business solutions categories.

In all, LG tallied approximately 150 awards and accolades from various publications covering the first-ever physical/virtual hybrid CES event.

Among the top honors earned were 24 CES Innovation Awards and the 2022 CES Editor’s Choice awards from USA TODAY’s consumer product reviews division, Reviewed.

LG was recognized as the most-awarded brand by USA TODAY/Reviewed with LG’s OLED evo C2 Series, PuriCare™ AeroTower, DualUp Monitor, Soundbar S95QR and Washer and Dryer Pair earning recognition based on four key criteria: innovation, technology, design and value.

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