The Department of Tourism (DOT) said Tuesday the country will now chart its way “forward” in terms of tourism development as the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) global health emergency.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, in a Palace briefing, said the country would continue to open its borders to tourists despite an increase in Covid-19 cases.
She assured that all minimum health and safety standards are in place and are observed by DOT-accredited establishments.
“Tapos na po yung pandemya, sabi po yan ng World Health Organization. (The pandemic is over, according to the World Health Organization). Kaya naman po (That is why) while we continue to support the Department of Health’s measures as far as ensuring the health and safety of our Filipinos, the direction of the Philippines is forward. And that is to ensure that we continue to open up the country to travel and tourism as is the direction set by our President (Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.),” Frasco said.
Marcos earlier said the Philippines has already been on “normal footing” even before the WHO declaration ending the emergency phase of the pandemic.
During an interview on board his flight back to the Philippines after attending the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Indonesia last week, the President said there is no need to restore the emergency status in the country concerning the global health emergency downgrade.
“We don’t need to do anything. We are already on normal footing. Nauna pa tayo sa kanila (We were ahead of them). And in terms of the… requirement that we used to have for a valid vaccine certificate, wala, matagal nang tinanggal ‘yun (we removed that long ago),” he said. “So now we have the e-Pass that’s much easier to use. That was… to make the ease of travel better. But we did that a few months back.”
The health department reported Monday that the country’s daily average of new Covid-19 cases has increased by 31 percent from May 8 to 14.
In its latest case bulletin, the agency recorded 1,773 daily infections, which is 421 higher than the 1,352 recorded between May 1 to 7.
Additionally, there were 12,414 new cases in the past week.
To date, the country has logged more than 4.1 million coronavirus cases and 66,453 deaths since January 2020. (PNA)