Marcos lifts COVID-19 public health emergency

Lance Spencer Yu

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Marcos lifts COVID-19 public health emergency

INTERVIEW. In this file photo, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sits for an exclusive interview with Reuters, at his hotel in Washington, US, on May 4, 2023.

Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

The state of public health emergency due to COVID-19 was first declared on March 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Days before his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lifted the state of public health emergency due to COVID-19 in the country.

“All prior Orders, Memoranda, and issuances that are effective only during the State of Public Health Emergency shall be deemed withdrawn, revoked, or canceled and shall no longer be in effect,” Marcos said in Proclamation No. 297 which he signed on Friday, July 21, and was made public on Saturday, July 22.

In justifying the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the presidential proclamation explained that the Philippines has generally fared well even after the loosening of restrictions.

“While COVID-19 remains to be a serious concern for certain subpopulations and requires continued public health response, the country has maintained sufficient healthcare system capacity and low hospital bed utilization rates even after the liberalization of COVID-19 health protocols,” the proclamation read.

Meanwhile, emergency use authorizations issued by the Food and Drug Administration will remain valid for one year from July 21 to allow the government to use up the remaining vaccines procured under it.

Following the lifting of the state of public health emergency, agencies are tasked to ensure that their policies, rules, and regulations take the declaration into account, and amend existing or promulgate new issuances as necessary.

The state of public health emergency was first declared on March 9, 2020, by then-president Rodrigo Duterte in response to rising coronavirus cases. Later that year in December, Duterte issued Executive Order 121, which allowed emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines.

After three years that saw millions killed by COVID-19 around the world, the World Health Organization declared an end to the global health emergency on May 5, 2023. Three days later, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases requested the lifting of the state of public health emergency. –

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.