HAIRSTYLIST. Women line up to try out the services of a new beauty salon that recently opened in Poblacion l in Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday (Feb. 23, 2022). The hairstylists of the beauty salon have been trained by the local government unit as part of the municipality’s livelihood program. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Feb 24 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines now is “better off” prepared to exit the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Vaccine Expert Panel member, Dr. Rontgene Solante, said Wednesday.

“I think we are on that process now. Our mindset is hopefully we can be exiting with this pandemic, we can exit with this pandemic,” Solante said at the Laging Handa press briefing.

Solante said the continuous reduction of active Covid-19 cases is an indication that the country can now deal with the virus.

“We know how to deal with it [virus] and I think isa sa mga punto natin dito (one of our points here) is we also have available antiviral agents that are appropriate against this infection, we have oral antiviral, we have IV [Intravenous] antivirals,” he added.

Solante said the country’s healthcare facilities are equipped with how to deal with severe Covid-19 symptoms.

“So, for me, we are better off prepared now compared to two years ago or one year ago,” he added.

Solante also noted the importance for the fully vaccinated Filipinos to get added protection against the virus to prevent the high risk of getting severe symptoms.

“With booster, with the third dose, that will give us a better protection. That will give us a better protection against getting the infection, against getting the severe infection, against getting to be hospitalized because you are also protected,” he said.

The government has deliberated the country’s exit plan from the Covid-19 pandemic and now crafting a strategic roadmap to the “new normal.”

The roadmap is set to be presented to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte early this March.

“Ang important (What important) now is delivering the important message sa lahat na ang bakuna ay importante at mahalaga (to all that vaccine is important and essential) when we want to control the pandemic and if we want to move to a new normal,” Solante said.

Solante said the public should always be reminded of the vaccine benefits, especially with the presence of the highly transmissible Omicron Covid-19 variant in the country.

“If you will be left out without the vaccine among the majority who has the vaccine or already vaccinated, then you will be the target of this Omicron variant to get the infection and continue to be a risk, puwede kang maging (you could be at) risk to get the severe infection,” Solante added.

The Department of Health on Tuesday logged 1,019 active Covid-19 cases, the lowest number for this year, bringing the total of 3,654,284 confirmed cases nationwide, with 56,668 active cases, 3,541,840 recoveries, and 55,776 deaths. (MNS)

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