The OCTA Research Group said on Tuesday it is not yet time for the country to lift the alert level system, as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) remains a pandemic.
In a media forum, OCTA research fellow Ranjit Rye said the Philippines, like any other countries in the world, has handled the current health situation as Omicron is a more manageable variant.
“We believe that this variant is possibly the major reason why we are managing well, not necessarily government intervention alone. It’s the variant of Omicron, in particular, is a more manageable variant than the ones that we had last year,” Rye said, referring to Delta, South African, and United Kingdom variants of Covid-19.
However, he added it is premature at this time to lift the public health emergency status even if the Omicron variant is manageable, as cases globally are rising.
Rye said the government is correct in continuing its policy on the alert level system as it tries to balance the situation of health and the economy.
He underscored the importance of Covid-19 vaccination, especially accelerating the rollout of booster shots, to keep the population protected from the virus.
Rye said only 20 percent of the general population who had completed their initial Covid-19 shots had their booster shots.
“So, it’s quite low. You know, we have a lot of supply of vaccines that we would want to use before they expire. And you know, just giving the first booster shots would help us use that vaccine supplies,” he added.
While the country is able to manage the cases, Rye said the incoming administration should rethink its pandemic responses by strengthening the institutions.
“That is the challenge for the next administration given what they’re going to inherit, a fiscal situation that’s quite challenging. It’s not just about people getting the right people. It’s about strengthening institutions. And that will require more than just the government; it will require a whole-of-nation approach,” he said.
Source: Philippines News Agency