Marcos to name Department of Health chief once Covid situation ‘normalizes’

Department of Health Citing economic reasons, President Marcos on Thursday said he would name a health secretary once the country’s coronavirus situation “normalizes” from its current state of calamity.

Mr. Marcos made his assessment of COVID-19 in the country amid updates by the Department of Health (DOH) this week on XBB and XBC, confirming on Tuesday the presence in the country of these Omicron recombinants and, on Friday, their local transmission.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also confirmed on Friday the presence of XBB in the Philippines and seven other Western Pacific countries, as it urged these nations to continue observing health protocols. 카지노사이트

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an annual conference by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Marcos said he would not name a health secretary for now because “[w]e have to get away from the emergency, the emergency stance of the DOH, because we have to open up businesses. We have to make the Philippines more hospitable to travelers, both business and tourists.”

“[F]or now, I say, we are looking for ways so that we can normalize it and we don’t have to say that the Philippines is still in a state of calamity,” the President said.

The country remains in “a state of calamity due to the coronavirus,” as declared in 2020 by Mr. Marcos’ predecessor Rodrigo Duterte in Proclamation No. 929. Duterte extended that edict the following year with Proclamation No. 1218.

Mr. Marcos said it was not yet time to lift the state of calamity.

“We cannot remove ourselves yet from the way that we are handling it. Because, for example, if I lift the state of calamity, our health workers will not get their benefits that are in the law. We will not be able to import the vaccine, the procurement will be too slow,” he said. 안전한카지노사이트

But regardless of PN 1218 being still in effect, the country should treat COVID-19 as “no longer … an emergency but something that we will have to manage forever,” the President said.

“It’s like flu, like pneumonia. It’s always there but let’s be careful not to get sick. And that is the way that we should be handling Covid,” he added.

Asked about another matter, appointing an agriculture secretary, Mr. Marcos said of the post he concurrently occupies: “There are things that the President can do that a secretary cannot, especially because the problems are so difficult that it would take a President to change and turn it around.”

‘Local cases’
In a forum on COVID-19 on Friday, the DOH noted that while XBB and XBC have been detected in 11 regions, these transmissions were more “localized.”

“This means that we cannot link them to either someone with travel history outside of the Philippines or with exposure to someone who recently traveled outside the country,” Dr. Althea de Guzman said, referring to the transmissions as “local cases.”

The DOH defines local transmission as cases that are not “epidemiologically linked,” since they are limited to a certain area, whereas community transmission refers to huge clusters of infections whose source cannot be traced.

De Guzman, epidemiology bureau director of the DOH, nevertheless emphasized that “our actions have always been [under] the assumption that there’s community transmission.”

“[This is] what we’ve been doing when other variants of concern [are] detected,” she said.

The DOH on Tuesday confirmed 81 cases of XBB in western Visayas and Davao regions, and 193 cases of XBC also in western Visayas and Davao, as well as in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Soccsksargen, Caraga and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 카지노사이트 추천

Soccsksargen recorded the most number of XBC cases at 51 percent, followed by Davao at 36.3 percent. Infections in the other regions ranged between 1 percent and 7 percent. Based on the COVID-19 vaccination dashboard of the DOH as of Wednesday, Soccsksargen had a first booster coverage of only 8.3 percent, while Davao also had a relatively low turnout of 11.8 percent.

An estimated 73.4 million have been fully vaccinated so far, with 20.3 million of that figure having availed themselves of first boosters.

In its update, the WHO confirmed that, besides the Philippines and Singapore, XBB had been detected in the Western Pacific countries of South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand.

New variants ‘expected’
Otherwise majority of these countries, including the Philippines, have declining trends in infections, hospitalizations and deaths, the WHO said—as it cited increased vaccination coverage as well as “strengthen[ed] surveillance and health care capacities.”But Dr. Babatunde Olowokure, health security and emergencies director of WHO-Western Pacific, said it was important that these countries “remain vigilant.”

“This [emergence of new variants] is expected. We expect to see variants occurring over time and [will] continue to do so as long as the virus is present,” he said at an online news conference.

“[But] continued emergence of subvariants and recombinants poses a risk of resurgence and [of] overwhelming health systems in the region,” Olowokure said.

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