Gov't eyes countrywide imposition of future COVID alert system

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2022 04:01 PM

People spend time and exercise outdoors as the capital region remains under the loosest COVID-19 alert level on March 10, 2022 at the Pinagbuhatan Shrine in San Juan City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People spend time and exercise outdoors as the capital region remains under the loosest COVID-19 alert level on March 10, 2022 at the Pinagbuhatan Shrine in San Juan City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News


MANILA - The government is eyeing the countrywide imposition of future COVID-19 alert levels, no longer per locality, Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire said Wednesday.

"'Pag pinag-usapan natin 'yung susunod na level pagkatapos ng alert level 1, 'yan po ay pag-uusapan 'di per area but for the country already. Ang kasunod po ay makita natin mag-alert level 1 na ang lahat ng areas sa'ting bansa," Vergeire told reporters.

(When we talk about the next level after alert level 1, we're considering it not per area but for whole country already. What we're looking forward to is to see all areas be placed under alert level 1.)

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said experts and government advisers were looking into "Alert Level 0" and whether the mandatory use of face masks would be retained amid the continuing threat of the COVID-19.

Alert Level 0 is "not a formal term and not an official term yet," said Vergeire.

"Alert level 1 is the lowest po sa ating alert level system kung saan we have 100 percent (operational) capacity already, manageable po ang kaso. Ang rason po kung bakit di po tayo bumababa pa beyond alert level 1 is because may kaso pa rin po tayo."

(Alert level 1 is the lowest in our alert level system where we have 100 percent capacity already and cases are manageable. The reason we have yet to deescalate is because we still have infections.)

Metro Manila and 47 other areas are under alert level 1 from Wednesday until March 31. All other parts of the country are under Alert Level 2.

The Philippines over the past 7 days had an average of 559 virus cases, with Metro Manila recording an average of 162 cases, Vergeire said Monday.

To deescalate to alert level 1, areas must achieve their vaccination targets, have low risk classification or less than 50 percent of healthcare utilization, low number of COVID-related deaths, and "manageable" number of cases, Vergeire said.

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