The Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over, and the country has not yet reached the endemic state of the virus, a health official said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made this comment a day after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) placed Metro Manila and 38 other areas under the lowest Alert Level 1 status from March 1 to 15.
“Ang ibig sabihin po ng endemic state ay ang virus ay nandiyan na kasama na po naten dito sa ating buhay, ngunit, acceptable na po ang mga numero ng ating mga kaso, acceptable na rin po sa ating (Endemic state means the virus remains with us in our lives, but the case numbers are acceptable in our) society,” Vergeire said in a Palace press briefing.
She said the endemic state could be reached when high number of vaccination in the country can balance off the transmission of Covid-19.
She added that death from Covid-19 is also acceptable during the endemic state.
“Darating po tayo diyan na magiging predictable at manageable ang mga kaso sa ating bansa (Time will come when cases in our country will be predictable and manageable),” Vergeire said.
Vergeire warned that the IATF can still escalate the Alert Level System if the Covid-19 cases soar again.
“If a new variant enters the country causing transmission or severe forms of the disease, we may again escalate our alert level,” she said.
‘Not yet time to celebrate’
In the same media briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, acting presidential spokesperson, urged the public to remain responsible by wearing face mask “at all times” and avoid mass gatherings.
“Tagumpay mang maituturing ang ating pagsampa sa Alert Level 1, hindi pa panahon para magdiwang. Kailangan pa rin po nating maging responsable sa ating sarili, sa ating pamilya at sa ating komunidad (Although our de-escalation to Alert Level 1 can be considered a success, it is not yet time to celebrate. We still need to be responsible for ourselves, our families, and our community),” he said.
Nograles emphasized the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic is still there, thus, he reiterated the call to more Filipinos to get vaccinated.
“Ang mga bakunang binibigay ng pamahalaan ay garantisadong dekalidad, ligtas at epektibo at sa mga nabakunahan na, huwag kalimutang magpa-booster (These vaccines being provided by the government are guaranteed to be of good quality, safe and effective, and those who are already fully vaccinated, don’t forget to get boosters),” he said.
“For those whose children aged five to eleven (5-11) are now qualified to receive vaccines, please have your children vaccinated. Dagdag proteksiyon ang mga ito (These are added protection),” he added.
The adherence to the public minimum health protocols should be sustained as part of the gradual shift to the new normal, he said.
“Today, we are reaping the rewards of collective action. It is collective action that has resulted in more than just relaxed restrictions in our daily lives. It also means reduced restrictions that will contribute to more livelihood opportunities and better incomes for many of our kababayan (countrymen),” Nograles said.
The Department of Health on Monday logged 951 new Covid-19 infections, the country’s lowest daily cases this year.
It also reported 1,717 new recoveries, reducing the active cases to 52,179 or 1.4 percent of the total 3,661,997 cases, while the death toll reached 56,451 after registering 50 new fatalities. (PNA)