DOH says ‘further evaluation’ needed before declaring COVID-19 pandemic in PH as under control

Published November 25, 2021, 3:24 PM

by Analou de Vera

(File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Department of Health (DOH) said that further evaluation is still needed before it can declare that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is already under control in the Philippines.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire believes that it is too early to say that the country has already contained the spread of coronavirus.

“We can’t definitely say that. Marami pang uncertain sa mga nangyayari sa atin (There is much more uncertainty in what is happening to us),” said Vergeire on Thursday, Nov. 25.

“Kailangan pang pag-aralan maigi (We still need to study it thoroughly), further studies, further evaluation because a lot of things are very uncertain at this point,” she added.

The Health official noted that the Philippines already experienced in the past a declining number of cases then it saw a surge in infections again.

“So, kailangan natin ng (we need a) longer period to assess and evaluate what’s happening,” she said.

She also emphasized that the various regions in the country have different situations with regards to COVID-19.

“Kailangan din natin makunsidera mayroong ibat’-ibang setting at iba’t ibang sitwasyon ang bawat regional area natin. Maaaring ang NCR mataas na ang bakunahan dito tapos ang ating community response has been intensified (We also need to consider that each of our regional areas has different settings and situations. Maybe NCR has a high vaccination rate already and the community response has been intensified),” said Vergeire.

“But if you compare with other areas in the country, some of the areas in the country mababa pa din ang pagbabakuna, nakikita pa din natin na kailangan pa din tulungan ang mga local governments nila for them to intensify their community response (still have low vaccination rates, their local governments still need further assistance for them to intensify their community response),” she added.

On Wednesday, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said they will ask the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine the status of the country’s COVID-19 situation.

“For two weeks, we hope to have a positivity rate lower than five percent. And we will ask the guidance of WHO if we can already declare that the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines has been controlled or contained,” said Duque.

However, Vergeire said “We are not going to declare this soon. We are just coordinating with WHO on the process and the determinants of disease control or containment.”

READ: DOH to ask WHO about status of PH’s COVID-19 situation