Video courtesy of PTV
MANILA — The COVID-19 alert system first tested in Metro Manila will be expanded to several areas from Oct. 20, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
The following alert levels will be up over these areas from Wednesday until Oct. 31, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
"Ito naman po ay kabahagi pa rin ng pilot study… Ilang rehiyon pa lamang ang na-include," he said in a press briefing.
(This still part of the pilot study. Only several regions were included.)
"Pero sabihin na natin na po natin na iyong pagbaba ng mga kaso at pag-improve ng ating healthcare utilization rate ay parang may kinalaman sa alert levels natin sa Metro Manila, dahilan para palawigin pa natin itong ating pilot implementation."
(But let us just say that the decrease in cases and improvement of our healthcare utilization rate appears to be connected to our alert levels in Metro Manila, which is why we expanded our pilot implementation.)
Government started testing out the alert system and accompanying granular lockdowns in Metro Manila in mid-September in a bid to better curb coronavirus clusters and spur business activity.
The capital region's 13 million people shifted to Alert 3 from Alert 4 last Saturday.
"'Pag napag-aralan naman talaga na mas epektibo itong alert level system i-implement ito on a nationwide basis. Pero ngayon, limited pilot study pa rin tayo," Roque said.
PALACE DEFENDS METRO MANILA SHIFT
Some doctors have expressed concern over eased restrictions in the capital region as these would allow more people to go out and potentially catch COVID-19.
"We are data-driven," Roque said, noting Metro Manila's healthcare utilization, positivity rate, and other indicators have gone down.
"Hindi tayo nakikipag-away sa mga doctor. Pero ang importante po, ikunsidera natin na sa larangan ng public health, kabahagi po iyong pagkakaroon ng hanapbuhay para maiwasan ang pagkagutom," he added.
(We are not fighting with doctors. But it is important that we consider that in the field of public health, that includes livelihoods to reduce the number of people who go hungry.)
Indoor dining will be limited to fully vaccinated individuals at 10 percent of venue capacity under Alert Level 4, 30 percent under Alert 3, and 50 percent under Alert 2. It will be allowed at 100 percent in areas under Alert 1, Roque said.
Takeout or delivery is allowed at 100 percent capacity at any alert level, he said.
For gyms and fitness studios, workers should be fully vaccinated, group activities will be banned, and clients should wear anti-virus masks indoors, Roque said.
Their indoor operations are allowed at 10 percent of capacity under Alert 4, 30 percent under Alert 3, and 50 percent under Alert 2, he said.
This capacity restriction also applies to indoor meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, said Roque.
Cinemas will remain closed under Alert 4. Their indoor operations are allowed at 30 percent under Alert 3 provided that moviegoers are fully vaccinated, he added.