With positive indications, MMDA chief sees Metro Manila easing to Alert Level 3

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2021 10:18 AM | Updated as of Sep 25 2021 04:00 PM

MANILA— Metro Manila may ease to a looser quarantine after the pilot implementation of Alert Level 4 if COVID-19 indications continue to improve, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos said Saturday.

Abalos said he hopes that the situation in Metro Manila would further improve on the second week of the implementation of Alert Level 4, set to lapse on Sept. 30. 

The 5-tier new virus response strategy is being piloted in virus hotspot capital region and entails granular lockdowns in infection clusters, instead of locking down entire cities or regions. 

“'Yung reproduction rate, ito mismo galing sa OCTA, from a high of 1.90 nung August 8, bumaba nun Sept. 4 ng 1.39, 1.03 nung Sept 22. Nakikita natin 'yung pababa po nito. Maski 'yung growth rate ng 1 week nag-negative na nga rin kaya maganda po ang indikasyon.
Sana po by the end of the one week pa mag-alert level 3 na po ang Metro Manila,” Abalos said.

(Based on data from OCTA, the reproduction rate from a high of 1.90 on Aug. 8 decreased to 1.39 on Sept. 2, and 1.03 on Sept. 22. We see it going down. Even the one week growth rate is now negative that’s why the indications are all good. We hope that by the end of the one week, Metro Manila will shift to Alert Level 3.)

Malacañang on Friday released amended guidelines in the pilot implementation of Alert Level 4 in Metro Manila. Some amendments will take effect starting Oct. 1 should Metro Manila remain under Alert Level 4.

“Ang nangyari po ngayon apat lang halos na negosyo ang bukas. Ang restaurants natin na may 10 percent sa loob at 30 percent sa outdoor, ating mga barberya, hair spa, nail salon at saka simbahan. Kung mag-a-alert level 3, halos lahat po 30 percent na ng capacity. Madadagdagan pa ang ating negosyo,” Abalos said.

(There are only around 4 businesses that are open. In restaurants, dine-in is at 10 percent and 30 percent for outdoor, barbershops, hair spa and nail salon and churches. If we shift to alert level 3, almost all will operate under 30 percent capacity.) 
 
The MMDA chief said that it is hard to calibrate health and the economy. 

“Sa basehan na nakikita natin ngayon, sana naman, tingin ko kaya na nating mag-alert level 3 by the end of the week. 'Yun ang pinagtatrabahuhan natin lahat ngayon,” he said.

(Based on what we're seeing, and I hope, I think we can make it to Alert Level 3 by the end of the week. That is what everyone is working on.)

Abalos believes that the improvement in COVID-19 indicators are not only the effect of granular lockdowns in different areas, but also the result of previous implementations of stricter quarantine measures and more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of Friday, the Philippines has logged a total of 2,453,328 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 18,659 new cases.