As the steward of the Philippine health sector, the Department of Health (DOH) shall carry out the directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic while improving access to primary and specialty healthcare.

“It is important that the DOH is agile based on our circumstances. Our focus has fittingly shifted towards saving lives while also protecting livelihoods. We are promoting vaccination on top of our usual health protocols, instead of imposing restrictions. While the new Omicron subvariants are indeed still spreading, cases have been reported to be mild and can be allowed to heal at home,” said Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire, DOH Officer-in-Charge.

In line with the President’s statements in yesterday’s State of the Nation Address, there are no plans to execute any further lockdown measures moving forward in the pandemic. Instead, the Department commits to close coordination and deployment of necessary resources to keep our healthcare systems ready to respond to both COVID and non-COVID cases. The hospital admission rate remains to be at low risk, with severe and critical cases at only 8.69% of total admissions as of July 26, 2022. This is because of high vaccination coverage. Still, the Department reminds the public to continue adhering to the minimum public health standards, such as wearing best fitting masks, isolating when sick, and ensuring good airflow to prevent possible virus transmission.

Amidst the easing of restrictions, the DOH will ramp up its booster rollout across the Philippines to further strengthen the wall of immunity against COVID-19 and improve health literacy to instill vaccine confidence within communities. “We are grateful that President Marcos sees the true value of vaccination, especially as we must maintain a strong wall of immunity against COVID-19. We must protect ourselves to enjoy this new normal of face-to-face classes and open businesses,” said OIC-Undersecretary Beverly Lorraine Ho of the Public Health Services Team.

President Marcos also shared long-term health plans for his administration, which include priority bills to establish a Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as establishing a Vaccine Institute. Aligned with the new administration’s calls for more affordable medicine and bringing healthcare closer to families, the Department continues to further realize the Universal Health Care Act around the country for the benefit of every Juan and Juana.