Lifting of Covid-19 global emergency status not end of pandemic

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

May 8, 2023, 5:04 pm

<p>Infectious disease expert Edsel Salvaña </p>

Infectious disease expert Edsel Salvaña 

MANILA – The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic has not ended yet and people must continue to protect themselves, a health expert said Monday.

In a televised public briefing, infectious disease expert Edsel Salvaña clarified that the World Health Organization’s lifting of the global emergency status for Covid-19 does not mean the coronavirus has ceased to exist.

“Iyong Covid, nandiyan pa, pero natuto na tayong mabuhay nang malaya, iyong hindi tayo nagtatago sa ating mga bahay (Covid is still there, but we have learned to live freely, we no longer hide in our homes),” he said.

Covid-19 cases may rise but hospitals are not overwhelmed by admissions as transmission of the virus is prevented by vaccination and other health protocols such as wearing of face mask, he added.

On Friday, the WHO ended the global emergency status for Covid-19 but it did not announce that the disease is no longer a global health threat.

Salvaña noted that the public health emergency status for Covid-19 in the country has not been renewed since January.

“Titingnan natin kung iyong mga natitira pa nating mga restriction ay maaaring dahan-dahan na nating i-trim down katulad diyan iyong mga quarantine, iyong mga isolation, iyong mga pagre-require ng mga vaccination in certain areas, nakikita natin. For instance, hindi nga tayo nagtse-check ng mga vaccine card doon sa mga incoming travelers. (We’ll see if our remaining restrictions can be slowly trimmed down like the quarantine, isolation, vaccination requirement in certain areas. For instance, we see that we no longer check vaccination cards for incoming travelers),” he said.

The Department of Health will meet with the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases to discuss and reassess policies and other guidelines concerning Covid-19.

As of March 20, more than 78.4 million have been fully vaccinated, more than 23.8 million have received first booster doses and almost 4.4 million got second booster shots. (PNA)