MANILA—Metro Manila should be under the strictest level of the new quarantine classification, a group of health professionals said Thursday, as infections are showing no signs of slowing down and hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Alert Level 5 should have been enforced in the capital region, said Dr. Antonio Dans, spokesperson of Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19. The movement restriction is equivalent to the old enhanced community quarantine.
"Tingin namin nasa Alert Level 5 tayo, hindi Alert Level 4. Ito na 'yung pinakamasamang surge natin nitong nakaraang isang taon at kalahati," he told Teleradyo.
(We believed we should be under Alert Level 5, not Alert Level 4. This is our worst surge in the past year and a half.)
"Hihintayin pa ba natin magpatong-patong ang mga namamatay sa emergency room bago tayo magtawag ng Alert Level 5?" he added.
(Will we wait until dead bodies pile up in emergency room before we declare Alert Level 5?)
Home to about 13.5 million people, Metro Manila on Thursday shifted to Alert Level 4 under the government's new quarantine rules.
Under Level 4, outdoor or al fresco dine-in services will be permitted at 30 percent capacity. Indoor dine-in services will only be allowed at 10 percent capacity and can only cater to those fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Personal care services only limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons are allowed to operate also at 30 percent capacity if they operate in an outdoor setting. If they function indoors, only 10 percent of seating capacity is allowed.
Religious gatherings are also allowed under the the same conditions while government offices will also operate at least 20 percent capacity.
Latest data from the Department of Health showed that ICU and ward beds in Metro Manila were considered "high-risk", with 79 percent and 73 percent utilized, respectively.
The region has logged more than 742,000 coronavirus infections, of which over 9,200 died from the disease. It currently has more than 48,000 active cases.
Last week, the country recorded its highest-ever daily tally of COVID-19 cases at 26,303.
Dans said his group expressed concern that the COVID-19 situation in the region might worsen.
"Sana ilagay na kaagad sa Alert Level 5 para masugpo na ang pagdami ng mga kaso at 'yung hirap na dinadanas ng mga pasyente at health-care worker sa frontlines," he said.
(I hope it will be placed under Alert Level 5 to curb the number of cases and the suffering of patients and health-care workers on the frontlines.)