DOH, IATF to convene after WHO ends COVID-19 global health emergency

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 5) — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases are set to convene after the World Health Organization (WHO) said COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency.

The two will "discuss and reassess policies and other guidelines affected by the [WHO's] declaration," the DOH said Friday, shortly after the WHO issued its declaration.

READ: WHO says COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency

The WHO first classified COVID-19 as a public health emergency in January 2020, six weeks before it declared the virus a pandemic.

"The DOH welcomes the proclamation of the WHO regarding the lifting of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on COVID-19. This is an acknowledgment of our effective and collaborative COVID-19 response and concerted efforts to fully recover and re-open our economy," the department said.

However, the WHO's declaration comes amid a backdrop of rapidly increasing COVID-19 infections in the Philippines.

The DOH recently told hospitals to prepare their COVID-19 wards in response to the spike in cases.

READ: DOH advises hospitals to prepare COVID-19 wards amid rise in cases

OCTA research group told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday that the positivity rate in Metro Manila, currently at 20.4%, could reach as high as 25% by next week — the same level during the Delta variant surge in 2021.

The nationwide positivity rate stands at 17.8%, according to latest OCTA data.

As of May 5, there were 9,159 active COVID-19 cases in the country, the DOH said.

"The DOH guarantees the Filipino people that all factors in determining our next action in line with the WHO's proclamation will be considered and discussed for the approval of the President," it added.