Palace warns against superspreader event as thousands flock to Dolomite beach

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 25 2021 04:51 PM | Updated as of Oct 25 2021 05:17 PM

People flock to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach to watch the sunset on Oct. 21, 2021. The recently opened government project has been a hit destination for visitors and tourists since the IATF eased restrictions of the NCR to Alert Level 3. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People flock to the Manila Baywalk Dolomite Beach to watch the sunset on Oct. 21, 2021. The recently opened government project has been a hit destination for visitors and tourists since the IATF eased restrictions of the NCR to Alert Level 3. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Malacañang on Monday appealed to the public to observe COVID-19 protocols and reminded the police to enforce distancing rules, as thousands flocked to the dolomite beach in Manila Bay last weekend. 

"Pandemya pa po, bagama’t bumababa po ang mga kaso natin eh nandiyan pa po si COVID-19, so huwag po tayong magpabaya ‘no," said President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque. 

(There is still a pandemic. Though our cases have gone, COVID-19 is still there, so let us not get complacent.)

"Talaga naman po ang dolomite eh for the enjoyment of everyone, pero huwag naman hong maging dahilan ‘yan para magkaroon tayo ng superspreader event," he added. 

(Dolomite is there for the enjoyment of everyone, but that should not be a reason for us to have a super-spreader event.)

Earlier in the day, Manila Bay Coordinating Office deputy executive Director Jacob Meimban Jr. said tens of thousands trooped to the dolomite beach in Manila Bay on Sunday alone. Police estimates were at 65,000.

Meimban said they tried to close the gate and limit the crowd to around 1,000 but "there was congestion outside."

“Nag-try kami na isarado ang gate, at hanggang ganoon lang yung capacity, halimbawa ay 1,000. Kaya lang, ang nangyari ay nagkaroon ng congestion sa labas. Ibig sabihin, sa labas ng gate mas makitid yun. At thousands of people ay nakalinya, nakapila, at mas delikado yan. Dikit-dikit sila,” he said.

(Outside the gates, the space is narrower. Thousands of people were in line and they were close to one another.)

“So, ang unang ginawa namin nung nakaraang linggo, imbis na isarado ang gate, at maglagay lang kami ng limit ay hindi pwede mangyari 'yon. Minabuti namin na buksan na lang ang gate at papasukin na lang lahat.”

(So what we did, instead of closing the gates and imposing a head count limit, we opened the gates and allowed everyone in.)

Meanwhile, Malacañang said Metro Manila is likely to ease its COVID-19 alert level next month.

The capital region's 2-week COVID-19 attack rate or proportion of those who became ill has gone to 52 percent, while its utilization of ICU beds dropped to around 48 percent, said Roque. 

"Malaki po ‘yung possibility na bababa tayo ng alert level," he said in a press briefing, quoting the health department. 

(The possibility that we will lower our alert level is big.)

Metro Manila started testing the 5-level COVID-19 alert system with granular lockdowns in mid-September in a bid to spur the economy while better containing coronavirus clusters. 

The region shifted to Alert 3 from Alert 4 last Oct. 16. Over the weekend, tens of thousands visited the so-called Dolomite Beach along Manila Bay. 

The Philippines has tallied some 2.7 million coronavirus infections, among the highest in Asia. At least 25.7 million of the country's 109 people have been fully vaccinated so far. 

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