Philippines sees no rise in COVID-19 cases after Alert Level 1 enforcement

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2022 09:57 AM

People visit an open park in Pasay City on March 5, 2022. Families flocked to malls and other public places today, the first weekend since quarantine restrictions were reverted to alert level 1. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People visit an open park in Pasay City on March 5, 2022. Families flocked to malls and other public places today, the first weekend since quarantine restrictions were reverted to alert level 1. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News


MANILA - The Department of Health has yet to see an increase in COVID-19 cases nearly 2 weeks after Metro Manila and 38 other areas were deescalated to the lowest alert level, its spokesperson said Wednesday.

Government "strictly monitors" the public's mobility with constant reminders for them to follow minimum health standards, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"At present, we have not seen any increase in COVID-19 cases since we have implemented Alert Level 1 in several areas in the country," she said in a statement.

"The government strictly monitors the mobility of the public with incessant reminders on adherence to minimum public health standards as well as the national vaccination drive for those eligible to get inoculated."

The agency earlier this week began releasing its COVID-19 case bulletins weekly instead of daily to focus more on severe and critical cases.

The country might tally some 500 or fewer COVID-19 cases by end of the month, according to independent research group OCTA. The DOH has yet to release its forecast.

The capital region and 38 other areas shifted to Alert Level 1 or the "new normal" on March 1, allowing businesses and public transportation to operate at full capacity.

Vaccination cards will no longer be required in public transportation but establishments such as gyms, restaurants, bars, and other enclosed spaces may require it, officials earlier said.

Under Alert Level 1, asymptomatic close contacts of COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated do not need to undergo quarantine but must monitor themselves for symptoms, according to Vergeire. Confirmed virus patients who are fully vaccinated must isolate for 7 days, she said.

"The rationale behind this policy shift is that there is a relatively low viral transmissibility for those who do not manifest symptoms. If the same individual is fully vaccinated, there’s a lower chance of getting infected due to the protection they receive from neutralizing antibodies which contributes to the protection against symptomatic disease," she said.

It is important for the public to increase their immunity against COVID-19 as it wanes over time, the DOH earlier said. Only 10.5 million out of 63.6 million fully vaccinated individuals have received their booster shots as of March 5, according to data gathered by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

During the fourth round of the national vaccination days, doctors' clinics and workplace health facilities would be allowed to inoculate individuals against the respiratory illness in a bid to make the jabs more accessible to the public.

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