Not yet time to lift state of calamity in PH, says DOH
MANILA, Philippines — It is not the proper time to lift the state of calamity in the country due to COVID-19, Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Friday.
Vergeire said that while there are discussions whether to recommend the lifting of the state of calamity or not, the decision should be gradual, considering the current COVID-19 slow booster uptake and the entry of Omicron subvariants in the country’s borders.
“This lifting of the state of calamity is being discussed among government agencies,” Vergeire said in an online press briefing.
“As of now, because of the influx of the new sub variants, because of challenge for our government to increase the uptake of boosters … we need to work on those before we give recommendation to our president, and the next administration if the state of calamity would be lifted or not,” the spokesperson added, partly in Filipino.
On Friday, the DOH also announced the entry of Omicron sub variant BA.5 in the country. Aside from BA.5, Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.2.12.1. have also been detected in the country.
Vergeire also stressed the implications of the suspension of the state of calamity to the validity of vaccines in the country.
For instance, she explained that the COVID-19 vaccines’s emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be invalid once the president lifted the state of calamity in the country.
This means vaccines and certain treatments can only be used if manufacturers secure a certificate of product registration (CPR) from the FDA.
To date, no vaccines in the country have CPR.
“Looking at our situation right now, baby steps tayo,” Vergeire said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of calamity in March 2020. The declaration has since been extended until September 2022.
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