Lifting of Covid-19 state of public health emergency imminent


The Philippines will soon officially lift the state of public health emergency in the country brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters following the Malacañang Press Briefing, Herbosa said a formal resolution from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is needed to lift the Covid-19 public health emergency.

“There’s no formal order yet, we are still waiting for the (order), but we are in de facto status,” Herbosa said.

“The instruction for me is to recover from the Covid and get back on the economy,” he added.

When asked about Marcos’ stance on lifting the public health emergency, Herbosa said the President believes the country’s COVID-19 health emergency has been “de facto” lifted due to easing restrictions.

“What he said is that it’s de facto as if we have already lifted it. Wearing masks is now optional, right?” Herbosa said.

During the press briefing, Herbosa mentioned that the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had already endorsed lifting the emergency during the term of DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“If that’s not yet signed, I’ll follow it up with the reiteration. At that time, they were still hesitant because there was still the problem of how we get the bivalent if we lift it. But now, I think that obstacle is done kasi may CPR na tayo and everything,” the Herbosa said.

While Marcos said, he is “in favor” of lifting the emergency status of Covid-19 in the country, the Department of Health chief said the Office of the President needed to review the proposal thoroughly.

“Yes, yes. This is one of (the President’s) instructions to me to really get out of the Covid pandemic,” Herbosa said.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte declared a public health emergency in response to Covid-19 on 8 March 2022.

The public health emergency declaration will remain in force until it is lifted or revoked by the current President.

But the World Health Organization last May lifted the global health emergency declaration for the Covid-19 pandemic that killed nearly 7 million people worldwide as of June 2023.

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