MANILA - Metro Manila localities will be placed under a common alert level under the government's new COVID-19 policy currently being finalized, an official said Sunday.
This is to prevent the public from gathering in an area with a lower alert level, said Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing.
"They (Metro Manila mayors) were unanimous in saying NCR (National Capital Region) should only have only 1 alert level," Densing told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Kahit may lower alert level yung ibang siyudad, magkakadikit pa rin ho 'yan sila. Ang mangyayari lang po d'yan, lilipat sila dun sa mas mababang alert level at dun sila gagawa ng aktibidades."
(Even if there was a lower alert level in other cities, they are close to each other, people will just transfer to areas with a lower alert level and gather there.)
Metro Manila is home to nearly 13.5 million people and accounts for a third of the country's gross domestic product.
Densing said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will finalize the proposed policy on Monday, for pilot implementation in the capital region beginning Sept. 16.
Once approved, the proposed policy will have its pilot implementation for two weeks.
"It will be officially announced tomorrow (Monday), yung pinaka-guidelines. Banggit ko nga, naaprubahan na 'to. Meron lang tatlong issue na kailangan i-address, kaya na-delay," he said.
(The main guidelines will be officially announced tomorrow. As I've mentioned, it has been approved but there were just three issues that need to be addressed, hence, the delay).
"Burahin na po sa isip muna natin dito sa NCR 'yung mga CQ-CQ dahil ibang panuntunan na po yung ating gagamitin mula Sept. 16."
(Let's not think about the usual community quarantine levels anymore, because from Sept. 16, we will be following a different set of guidelines.)
Alert levels differ from granular lockdowns as the latter are implemented in specific areas using certain criteria, according to Densing.
Among these are the area's average daily attack rate or the number of COVID-19 cases per 100 population, the 2-week growth rate of its virus infections, healthcare utilization rate, and the increase or decline of every day cases, Densing said.
The health department would be the authority in declaring an area's alert level and will be consulted prior to the announcement, he added.
The Philippines is at "critical risk" level for COVID-19, a former adviser for the government's task force against the pandemic said Sunday, a day after the country recorded a new record of daily fresh coronavirus cases.
The country on Saturday posted a single-day high of 26,303 infections, bringing its total to 2,206,021 of which 185,706 were active.
Citing data from the Philippine Genomic Center, Densing said that 76 percent of the samples it sequenced are Delta variants, while 15 percent are made up of Alpha and Beta variants.
Close to 17 million people in the country are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while more than 21 million have received their first doses, said Densing.
He said a total of 26-27 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected to be delivered to the country this month, and another 33-34 million in October.
"Sa NCR po, halos narating na natin yung tinatawag natin na population protection dahil 77 porsyento ng target population to be vaccinated ay nabakunahan na, at around 85 or 86 percent ng target population sa National Capital Region ay nakapag-first dose na," said Densing.
"Kaya nga po, pinaylot natin sa NCR itong alert levels, at ang pagbabago ng sistema dahil nakita natin dito na karamihan ng ating kababayan dito sa (NCR) ay nabakunahan na," he added.
(In NCR, population protection is almost achieved because 77 percent of the target population to be vaccinated have already been inoculated, and around 85-86 percent of the target population have received their first doses. That's why, we are piloting in NCR the alert levels, or the new system, because majority of the population is already vaccinated.)