MANILA — Authorities have yet to find data that will support calls to downgrade Metro Manila's COVID-19 alert level a notch later this week, Malacañang said on Monday.
Home to some 13 million people, the capital region is under alert 4 until Thursday in a 5-level system accompanied by granular lockdowns.
"Sa ngayon po, wala pang datos na nagpapakita na pupuwedeng bumaba [ang alert level]. Pero pupuwede naman itong magbago," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a press briefing.
(For now, there is no data yet that the alert level can be downgraded. But this can still change.)
Metro Manila last week reported an average of 4,347 coronavirus infections a day, down from a peak of 5,714 daily cases from Sept. 5 to 11, noted Dr. Althea De Guzman, head of the health department's epidemiology bureau.
However, the output of testing laboratories last week also went down by 37,000 to 248,000. The health department is coordinating with local governments to find out why, she said.
"Tayo'y (we are) very cautiously interpreting the decline we saw because need to assess the large decline in laboratory output we saw in the past week," De Guzman said in the Palace briefing.
She also noted that while Metro Manila's bed utilization rate has gone down to 63 percent from 68 percent a few days prior, this figure is still under moderate risk category.
ICU use remains high-risk at 76 percent, just slightly lower than the 78 percent utilization reported weeks ago, said the health official.
"Kung ito pong mga numbering ito ng NCR ang ating pagbabasehan, tayo po ay posibleng manatili pa sa alert level 4," De Guzman said.
(If these figures will be our basis, we may remain under alert level 4.)
"Pero tulad po ng nabanggit ni spokes[man Roque], ang mga metrics natin at ang ating mga numero ay tuloy-tuloy po nating pag-aaralan. At napakahalaga na mayroon tayong tama at accurate na datos," she continued.
(But as spokesman Roque said, we are continuously studying these metrics and figures. And it is very important that we have the right and accurate data.)
Alert Level 4 over Metro Manila has allowed outdoor dining at 30-percent capacity, while indoor dining is limited to small groups of fully immunized people.
Religious gatherings and personal care services are allowed at up to 30 percent of the capacity of the venue.
The Philippines, which is fighting one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks, has confirmed some 2.4 million coronavirus infections, including about 37,000 deaths overall.
Video courtesy of PTV