Group: Lift state of public health emergency only if COVID cases drop in Q1 of 2023
MANILA, Philippines – Lift the state of public health emergency in the country only if COVID-19 cases drop in the first quarter of 2023, a group of private hospitals said Wednesday.
Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPI) president Dr. Jose de Grano urged the government to assess further whether or not the state public health emergency should stay in place by monitoring the volume of COVID-19 cases in the country for the next three months.
“Sa totoo naman po, talagang nandiyan pa ang COVID. Mataas pa rin ang ating cases. In thousands ang active cases at ang aming paniniwala, siguro for the next three months or first quarter of next year, we’ll observe and monitor. At kung makita nating bumababa then, that’s the time na pwede nating alisin iyong state of emergency,” he said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
(Honestly, COVID is still here. The number of cases is still high. Our active cases are still in the thousands, so we need to observe and monitor the situation for the next three months or the first quarter of next year. And if we see that cases are declining, then that’s the time we can remove the state of emergency.)
De Grano also aired worries that lifting the state of a public health emergency would affect people’s access to benefits from the government.
“Usually itong mga benefit na nakukuha natin sa Department of Health (DOH), local government units – ito’y nakadepende sa ating state of emergency at kapag na-lift po ito, baka mawalan po ng pagkakataon ang ating mga kababayan na maka-take advantage nito,” he said.
(Usually, the benefits we’re getting from the Department of Health and local government units depend on whether we’re under a state of emergency, and if this is lifted, people may lose their chance of taking advantage of these benefits.)
De Grano further pointed out that the allowance provided to healthcare workers may be taken away if the state of public health emergency expires.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the country is likely to continue to be in a state of public health emergency until the end of the year.
He, however, has not made any pronouncement on whether this will be extended until next year.
Marcos’ predecessor Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 922 in March 2020, which declared a state of public health emergency in the country due to COVID-19.
The proclamation states that the state of public health emergency shall “remain in force and effect until lifted or withdrawn by the President.”
Duterte also signed a separate proclamation declaring a state of calamity due to COVID-19, which was initially only supposed to last until September 2020 but was extended twice and is set to lapse on Dec. 31, 2022.
PHAPI previously said the state of calamity in the country should also be extended until the first quarter of 2023.
The DOH, for its part, has since recommended the extension of the state of calamity to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
DOH wants extension of COVID-19 state of calamity in PH
Bongbong Marcos may continue COVID-19 emergency till year-end
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