By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire (PNA photo)

MANILA – The country is “ready” should the World Health Organization (WHO) decide to lift the global public health emergency declared due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), a health official said on Tuesday.

“The implications of a global health emergency or the public health emergency definitely will be in our borders and we have seen and that slowly we have eased our restrictions across our borders also and until now we are managing our cases,” Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a media forum.

She made the statement following a news report which disclosed that the WHO Emergency Committee will meet on Jan. 27 to discuss whether Covid-19 still represents a global health emergency.

Nationally, the state of calamity due to Covid-19 declaration seems to have a small probability to be extended as President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. previously expressed hesitancy on the matter.

Earlier, the DOH recommended another extension as several of the Covid-19 response measures rely on the declaration of the state of calamity and public health emergency, including the vaccination drive.

“If and when the public emergency will be lifted, we know that the virus is here to stay,” Vergeire said.

“The Philippines will continue to be cautious and vigilant, and we will still be imposing these same restrictions that we have right now which are not so much strict, but we have that safeguard that anytime cases will increase, we have our safeguards that we can rely on and we can impose to better protect Filipinos,” she added.

Currently, Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions of severe and critical cases in the country are beginning to plateau after a recent slight increase.

On Monday, the DOH reported a 6-percent decrease in its daily average of new cases — from last week’s 447 to 419 in the recent week.

To date, the country has logged over 4 million Covid-19 cases and more than 65,590 fatalities.

Covid-19 admissions remain manageable with only 17.2 percent or 402 out of the 2,340 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 20 percent or 3,917 of 19,607 non-ICU beds utilized as of Jan. 15. (PNA)