DOH justifies Alert Level 3 shift in Metro Manila

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2021 07:48 PM

People walk along a park near Plaza Lawton in Manila on Sept. 29, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
People walk along a park near Plaza Lawton in Manila on Sept. 29, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—The Department of Health on Friday appeased concerns that the relaxing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila may lead to another surge in COVID cases.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the downgrading of alert levels in the capital region was based on scientific metrics.

"Kaya po sila napunta sa (That's why they will shift to) Alert Level 3 because their metrics warranted already the deescalation," she said in a press briefing.

From Oct. 16 to 31, Metro Manila, home to over 13 million people, will be under Alert Level 3 amid decreasing COVID-19 cases and as conditions in hospitals have improved.

The government imposed a 5-tier new virus response strategy in the region to curb the spread of the virus.

The bed utilization rate in the National Capital Region is now at moderate risk, Vergeire said. The region's 2-week growth rate of COVID-19 cases also decreased.

"Alert levels are determined by the Department of Health. Hindi po ito (This is not) subject to discussions or debate. This is not even subject to appeals. The alert levels is a classification that we do based on scientific metrics na meron tayo (that we have)," Vergeire said.

This, after some health workers raised concerns of renewed COVID-19 surge in the loosening of quarantine restrictions.

According to the Department of Health's COVID-19 tracker, Metro Manila logged 1,553 new coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing its tally to 835,484.

The tally includes 16,867 active cases while 9,985 have died from the disease.

As of Oct. 13, the bed occupancy rate in NCR was at 46.5 percent, which means 4,907 of its 10,554 beds were utilized.

Some 119 facilities were considered at the "safe" level or less than 60 percent occupied, 14 at "moderate" or 60 to 70 percent occupied, 9 at "high risk" or 70 to 85 percent occupied and 14 are "critical" or more than 85 percent occupied.

More than 7 million people in Metro Manila have completed their COVID-19 vaccination.

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Courtesy of the Department of Health