DOH expects to see effects of new alert level scheme within 2-3 weeks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2021 11:36 AM

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MANILA - The full effect of the new alert level scheme piloted in Metro Manila will be seen in 2 to 3 weeks, the Department of Health said Monday.

The National Capital Region was placed on 'Alert Level 4' in the newly instituted system. This level, second strictest in a 5-tier scheme, allows for some economic activity and lockdowns in smaller sections.

"We just started our implementation of this pilot in the National Capital Region just last week, so we expect that we will see the changes in 2 to 3 weeks’ time after we have started this pilot implementation. It’s too early now to say that there is that effect already," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC's Headstart.

Vergeire said apart from granular lockdowns, the new strategy also upped the interventions to be used, such as active case-finding, intensive tracing of contacts, testing and immediate isolation and improvement in vaccination coverage.

"If we will be able to be successful in implementing this kind of policy shift, we can see the improvement in the number of cases in about 2 to 3 weeks’ time," she said.

She said the DOH shares the sentiment of health groups that testing in Metro Manila must be increased alongside the new protocols. She said while experts say the ideal is at 90 to 100,000 tests per day based on the current positivity rate, an average of 70 to 80,000 tests are already being done daily.

"We have increased already our testing capacity and we have added the rapid antigen tests. We have improved on this aspect, but of course there is still room for improving this," she said.

The DOH reported on Sunday 19,271 fresh COVID-19 cases, bringing the country's total to 2,366,749. Active infections are currently at 178,196.

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