March 23, 2023

An infectious diseases expert recommended that minimum public health standards and the alert level system should continue to be enforced despite a notable drop in the country’s Covid-19 cases.
Dr. Edsel Salvaña, a member of the Department of Health’s Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Disease, said abolishing the alert level system at the moment is not timely as a shift to Alert Level 1 would allow for the return to 100 percent capacity of the country’s economy while maintaining minimum health protocols.
“Kailangan rin natin ng framework na kung biglang tumaas iyong mga kaso, then mayroon tayong calibrated response para hindi tuluy-tuloy iyong paglaganap at mapi-pressure naman po ang ating mga ospital,” Salvaña said.
Despite optimism among the infectious disease experts of the DOH’s Technical Advisory Group due to the continuing trend of fewer Covid-19 cases, he said the disease should not be underestimated to avoid being taken by surprise by possible new variants.
“The World Health Organization said the end of the pandemic won’t be that soon. We’re still expecting new variants to come out,” Salvaña said.
He said other countries that have eased down health protocols to the point of not requiring face masks in public should not be emulated, and the Philippines should instead follow a “care and science-based” approach.
“Hindi po ibig sabihin na dahil mababa ang kaso, tatanggalin na natin lahat itong pagma-mask at pagpi-physical distance dahil alam natin na nandiyan pa rin naman iyong virus at puwede pa rin siyang umusbong ulit,” Salvaña said.
The current drop in Covid-19 cases, he said, can mainly be attributed to a large portion of the population being vaccinated and continued compliance with minimum public health standards.
To maintain the current drop in Covid-19 cases, he urged the public to get themselves fully vaccinated and to receive a booster shot.
“Tuluy-tuloy naman iyong proteksiyon against severe disease ng kahit dalawang doses lang ng bakuna, mas maganda talaga na mayroon tayong third dose lalung-lalo na doon sa ating vulnerable population dahil over time nagkakaroon talaga ng waning ng protection,” Salvaña said. – PNA