DOH says NCR, other regions OK for Alert Level 1 amid high vaccination rate

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2022 05:15 PM

 Market-goers navigate the Marikina Public Market on February 20, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file
Market-goers navigate the Marikina Public Market on February 20, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Metro Manila and 6 other regions can de-escalate to Alert Level 1 by next month amid their high COVID-19 vaccination rate, a health official said on Saturday. 

According to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, CAR, the Ilocos Region, and Cagayan Valley could be placed under the lowest quarantine level. 

Cabotaje emphasized that Metro Manila has fully vaccinated over 100 percent of its target residents. A relatively high vaccination rate during the omicron surge last month was also the reason why its health care capacity was not really stretched.

"One hundred percent ang ating fully vaccinated coverage sa NCR... While dumami yung mga pasyente (during omicron surge) hindi po na-overload yung ating system," the official explained. 

"Handa na po ang ating NCR na mag-Alert Level 1 na, kasama ang CAR, Region 1, Region 2, at Region 3, and Region 4-A."

Malacañang earlier said that areas can shift to Alert Level 1 if they meet the following: 

  •  Low to minimal risk case classification.
  •  Total bed utilization rate of less than 50 percent.
  •  Full vaccination of 70 percent of its target population (denominator is 80 percent of its total population).
  •  Full vaccination of 80 percent of its target population in the elderly (denominator is 85 percent of its population).

Restrictions in establishments and public transport will be removed under the lowest quarantine level, which is considered the blueprint for the "new normal." 

Mayors in NCR earlier urged the COVID-19 task force to de-escalate the region's alert level due to the further drop in new cases. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has also backed placing Metro Manila under Alert Level 1. 

The Philippines recorded less than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, data showed.

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