MANILA – Metro Manila was placed under the looser Alert Level 2 quarantine status as the average daily attack rate (ADAR) of COVID-19 in the region had already sufficiently gone down, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Benhur Abalos said Friday.
Speaking on ANC’s “Dateline Philippines,” Abalos said Metro Manila’s ADAR last week had already gone down but not low enough to merit the easing of quarantine restrictions.
“The week before this, every week the IATF through the DOH (Department of Health) has been assessing the metrics. So basically the metrics are of course the (intensive care unit) occupancy, isolation wards, etc. the growth rate, etc. Last week, we passed everything, except for one metric. And this is the ADAR or the average daily attack rate,” he said.
“From 8.8, I think the grade of Metro Manila then was 7.4. But the cutoff was 7. We just missed the passing rate by 0.4,” he explained.
“So I told them, what if we’re able to attain it? The 7, in less than 2 weeks? Otherwise you have to wait for 2 weeks.”
“So they made a report yesterday, if I’m not mistaken, from 7.4, the ADAR was now below 6, it’s about 5.58 if I’m not mistaken. So it’s way below. So all aspects... pasado tayo (we've passed),” he said.
The Palace on Thursday night announced that Metro Manila would shift to Alert Level 2 from Alert Level 3, less than three hours before this took effect, allowing the reopening of more businesses and the additional easing of restrictions.
Asked about the timing of the announcement of Metro Manila’s new quarantine classification, Abalos said it's easier to ease, rather than tighten, quarantine protocols.
“Personally ‘no, if you de-escalate, mas madaling i-control eh (it's easier to control). Kasi (Because) there's more capacity, and there’s more mobility.”
"It’s probably, mas mahirap kasi kung nag-e-escalate ka eh (it's more difficult if you escalate). You’re becoming stricter eh," he said.
Metro Manila's 13 million people were under Alert Level three for around two weeks before the curbs were eased.
Aside from loosening quarantine restrictions, the IATF also approved on Thursday the recommendation to base the alert level assignments in the National Capital Region on data that is nearest to the implementation date.
This means that starting December, alert level assignments will be determined every 15th and 30th of the month.
However, the alert levels may be raised any time within the implementation period, while de-escalations can only be done at the end of the 2-week assessment period.
Under Alert Level 2, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed, unless the local government units impose some restrictions.
Individual outdoor exercises are also allowed for all ages, regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status.
Indoor venues are allowed to accept a maximum of 50 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18, even if unvaccinated.
Outdoor venues, on the other hand, are allowed to accommodate up to 70 percent of their capacity.