By Carlos Jimwell Aquino

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines appears to be a long way off compared to the rest of the world due to the high rates in the country, according to an infectious diseases expert.

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Marie David / Screengrab from ABS-CBN News

In a public briefing, Dr. Rontgene Solante said that he does not share the World Health Organization's (WHO) optimistic outlook, which states that the end of the pandemic is near and that countries around the world "have never been in a better position."

According to the infectious diseases expert, the end of the pandemic in the Philippineswould not happen within the next two or three months, given that the country ranks fifth in the world in terms of weekly new fatalities and that many areas remain at moderate risk for COVID-19.

“Sa ngayon, hindi ko pa nakikita 'yung ganoong pananaw. Although mas mababa ang mga kaso natin ngayon kumpara noong January or September last year, pero tuloy-tuloy pa rin na meron tayong community transmission especially with this BA.5 variant,” Solante said.

He also noted that wearing face masks and ensuring that the public receives COVID-19 vaccines would still help to attain it.

The Department of Health (DOH), on the other hand, agreed with WHO's perspective but warned the public not to become complacent because the virus is still present.

DOH Officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire continued to emphasize the importance of testing and vaccination, institutionalizing healthcare facilities, and public communication to improve the country's fight against the pandemic.

Edited by Audrei Jeremy Mendador