MANILA - A total of 239 areas in Metro Manila have so far been placed on granular lockdown shortly before and since the start of last week’s pilot implementation of the new alert level system to arrest the spread of COVID-19 and help spur the pandemic-battered economy, an official said Tuesday.
The imposition of lockdowns in such areas as houses to subdivisions as Metro Manila is placed under Alert Level 4 is “so far, so good”, except for the first reported case of resistance by residents who supposedly complained about its impact on their livelihood, said Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing.
He said majority of those placed on granular lockdown in Quezon City are individual houses.
“On the ground, meron tayong konting kalituhan pero kino-correct pa rin natin. May report akong nakuha na ‘yung bahay, kinandado. Yung susi, iniwan sa homeowners association. Ang nagkandado, yung barangay. So kinorek naman namin kaagad,” Densing said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
(On the ground, there are some slight confusions but we are correcting right away. I received a report that a house was locked up by the barangay, and the key was left to the homeowners association. We corrected that.)
Densing said the barangay may deploy tanods (watchmen) outside the residence on lockdown, but not lock it up.
Marking a place as having COVID-19 patients in areas under granular lockdown is allowed, as long as names are not published, he added.
Densing reiterated that granular lockdowns are meant to control the spread of the virus by preventing infected people from going around, while allowing businesses in non-affected areas to operate.
The official said his own monitoring of some business establishments also showed general compliance with guidelines on capacity and minimum health standards.
“Although, nung isang araw, nung unang araw, medyo napikon lang ako nang konti kasi merong isang Japanese restaurant… na instead na 10 percent lang ang pinapapasok niya, eh, kalahati ng restaurant ay puno ng tao, at hindi pa niya alam kung bakunado o hindi,” he shared.
(Although, on the first day, I got mad because there was a Japanese restaurant that was half-filled with guests, instead of only accommodating 10 percent of its capacity, and it was not even aware if the guests are vaccinated or not.)
Densing said it is important for the 5-level alert scheme pilot implementation in the capital region to be successful so it can be replicated in other parts of the country.
A review of the current implementation is set on Wednesday, he said.
A few days before Sept. 30, when the pilot implementation concludes, a consultative meeting among mayors and governors from other parts of the country will be held to find out necessary adjustments in the operating guidelines of the alert system, before its replication there.
If provincial governments are ready for the system, it may be implemented in areas outside of Metro Manila by October, said Densing.
He appealed to the public to continue following the minimum health protocols for the success of the current strategy.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines on Tuesday surpassed the 2.4 million-mark after the health department confirmed 16,361 more cases.
Based on the Department of Health's (DOH) latest bulletin, the country now has 2,401,916 overall recorded cases, of which 171,142 or 7.1 percent are active.
At least 18.5 million people in the country have so far been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while around 22.8 million have received their first shots.