The Department of Health (DOH) said the Philippines has yet to reach the endemic stage despite improvements in its Covid-19 situation and easing of restrictions.
Certain criteria need to be met before the state health agency can declare an endemic state, said DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.
She explained that the number of cases “must be acceptable” to the population, the number of deaths must be “stable enough that it be acceptable also to the population,” and there should be high vaccine coverage or immunity among the population.
World Health Organization Executive Director for Health Emergencies Dr. Mike Ryan previously said the endemic stage means that “the disease is circulating at a lower rate and more predictable rate in the population.”
“We can only declare here in the country that we are already at that stage of endemicity when we fulfill all of these conditions,” said Vergeire in a recent press briefing.
Right now, the country’s number of new Covid-19 cases is “stable” and the number of deaths is “not that high.” However, the booster vaccination coverage remains low, said Vergeire.
“Mababa pa ang booster shots natin so kailangan pagtrabahuhan natin yung coverage ng bakuna—tumaas ang wall of immunity (Our booster shot coverage is still low, so we need to work on vaccine coverage, increase our wall of immunity),” she said.
“And therefore, pag dumating na sa point na iyon baka sakali, kung all over the world also ayun na rin ang direksyon at nangyayari, baka we can also yung ating pagdedeclare din ng state of endemicity (when it comes to that point, if all over the world is heading on that direction and it is happening, maybe we can also declare a state of endemicity),” she added.
“But until we can fulfill all of these conditions that I have said, we cannot declare that endemic stage here in our country,” she furthered.
Last Sept. 15, the DOH reported that the average daily number of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines was at 2,201.
Since the pandemic started in 2020, the country already logged 3.9 million confirmed cases, wherein 3.8 million people have recovered, and 62,514 individuals died.
Over 72.8 million Filipinos have been fully-vaccinated as of Sept. 14. There were 18.7 million individuals who got their first booster shot and almost 2.6 million people have received their second booster dose, the DOH said.