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Philippines mulls extending public health emergency till year-end amid surging COVID-19 cases

Copyfrom:Xinhua News Agency Post Time:2022-08-18 10:30:56

MANILA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos said on Wednesday that he is mulling extending the nationwide state of public health emergency until the end of this year as the country continues to grapple with COVID-19.

Marcos said lifting the state of emergency might deprive his country of aid or supplies that global agencies such as the World Health Organization give to the international medical community.

"So, we will likely extend it until the end of this year," Marcos told reporters.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte declared a public health emergency in March 2020 following confirmation of local COVID-19 community transmission. Duterte had extended the emergency status until Sept. 12 this year.

The state of emergency calls for the public to support, cooperate and mobilize the necessary resources "to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate response and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the COVID-19 threat."

On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,892 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,840,943.

The DOH said the number of active cases fell to 35,101, while 46 more patients died from COVID-19 complications, pushing the country's death toll to 61,173.

Metro Manila, the capital region with over 13 million people, tallied 845 new cases.

Marcos urged the public to get the booster shots, stressing its importance in opening up the economy and preventing crippling lockdowns.

The country's leader, who received his second booster shot on Wednesday at the launch of a renewed vaccination campaign, said getting the booster shots will help bring the country back to a normal situation.

Marcos has been infected with COVID-19 twice, in March 2020 and in July this year.

The Philippines reported its highest COVID-19 single-day tally of 39,004 new cases on Jan. 15. The country, with a population of around 110 million, has fully vaccinated over 72.1 million people. Over 17 million received the first booster shot, but only 1.8 million received the second boosters shots. 

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