Coronavirus pandemic far from over — DoH 

THE HEALTH department on Tuesday called on Filipinos to remain vigilant even after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the coronavirus was no longer a global health emergency.

COVID-19 infections in the country have been increasing, and the daily average has almost doubled to 1,400, Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told a virtual news briefing.

But 96% of these cases were either mild, did not show symptoms or moderate, she said. Hospital use rate was also low.

“The public health emergency of international concern lifted by the WHO is not equated to the pandemic,” Ms. Vergeire said. “So even though the WHO has already lifted the public health emergency of international concern status, they did not say that the pandemic is over.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the pandemic had been on a downward trend for more than a year.

On Jan. 30, 2020, the WHO declared the first recorded COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The health emergency was classified as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Ms. Vergeire said an inter-agency task force leading the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response met on Monday to discuss the implications of the WHO’s declaration .

“For now, all policies based on the president’s executive orders and other IATF resolutions shall still be in effect until otherwise repealed,” she said.

The seven-day positivity rate in Metro Manila increased to 22.9% on May 7 from 17.8% on April 30, OCTA fellow Fredegusto P. David tweeted on Tuesday. 

“The increasing trend is slowing down, and the peak could happen within the next week or so. The positivity rate could also miss the 25% mark,” he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza