No timeline yet for lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in PH – officials
MANILA, Philippines — There is no timeline yet for lifting COVID-19 restrictions nationwide as it would all depend on the progress of the government’s coronavirus vaccination campaign, officials said Wednesday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who serves as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), said that the timeline depends on how fast the country will reach its vaccination targets such as population protection and herd immunity.
“Lahat naman ‘yan pinaplano natin and all of that will depend on how fast we can achieve ‘yung population protection and ‘yung herd immunity targets natin,” Nograles said during the pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) media briefing.
“By all indications, lahat naman ng supply ng vaccines na kailangan natin to achieve those targets… lahat naman ng supply ay na-secure na ni [vaccine czar] Secretary [Carlito] Galvez,” he added.
Nonetheless, Nograles expressed confidence that 50 to 70 million Filipinos will be inoculated before the year ends.
This was backed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who said that it is difficult to set a timeline when many have yet to complete their vaccination or have yet to be vaccinated.
Lorenzana is also a part of the IATF.
“Mahirap maglagay ng timeline ngayon kung kailan natin i-lift yung restrictions dahil… hindi pa malaking numero yung ang ating nababakunahan at hindi pa tayo nakaka-acquire ng herd immunity,” Lorenzana said.
“Lahat kami dun sa IATF gusto rin naming matanggal yung restriction dahil nakikita naman natin yung paghihirap ng mamamayan kaya lang dapat tayong makinig sa mga eksperto,” he added.
Restrictions will still be in place until 50 percent of the population are vaccinated, said the DND chief.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, meanwhile, underscored that minimum public health standards still have to be observed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the potentially deadly COVID-19 disease.
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s presentation during a briefing on Wednesday, 2.8 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with over 11 million doses of vaccines administered.
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