MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday denied that Metro Manila would bring back the mandatory use of anti-COVID masks following an uptick in coronavirus infections.
The DOH said a viral social media post on the supposed return of the mask mandate was "false."
It also clarified that Metro Manila would remain under Alert Level 1, the lowest and most relaxed in the government's COVID-19 alert level system, until April 30.
This means restrictions in the area would "remain to be in the status quo," the DOH said in a statement.
"The Department clarifies that the current Alert Level System is still being discussed through the IATF, and the DOH has previously recommended that these alert levels be similar to typhoon warnings and a guidance system in the future," it added.
The DOH earlier clarified an April 14 resolution made by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), which listed 26 areas under Alert Level 2.
The said areas were not escalated from Alert Level 1, as they have been under the second alert level since June last year.
"While these areas have reached low risk classifications for cases and utilization rates, these have vaccination rates lower than 70 percent of the target total and population," the DOH said in a statement last Sunday.
"Also, no province or city has been escalated to alert level 2 from alert level 1 since January 2023," it added.
While it was approved on April 14, the IATF-EID resolution was only published on the government's Official Gazette 8 days later.
The health department advised the public to be mindful of information being shared on social media, particularly on the COVID-19 alert level status of several areas in the Philippines.
It urged the public to obtain information from reputable sources such as its official platforms, other national government agencies and institutions, and known news outlets.
In the past week, the Philippines saw a 32-percent increase in the daily average of coronavirus infections.
As of April 25, the country has 4,255 active COVID-19 cases, the DOH's COVID-19 Tracker showed.
Of some 4 million infections logged since the start of the pandemic, 66,444 led to death.