MANILA - Catanduanes province in Bicol region has been placed under the second-highest alert level as the policy was implemented nationwide Monday, the Department of Health said.
The 5-step alert level system was pilot-tested in Metro Manila in September as the country attempted to loosen restrictions to reopen the economy while implementing granular lockdowns to contain COVID-19.
Catanduanes was classified under Alert Level 4, where interzonal and intrazonal travel is allowed only for those aged 18 to 65, according to government guidelines. Establishments are allowed a maximum of 10 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated persons, and 30 percent outdoor venue capacity.
Meantime, 12 areas were placed under Alert Level 3, which permits individual outdoor exercises for all ages and allows a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity.
Areas under Alert Level 3
- Baguio City
- Mountain Province
- Nueva Vizcaya
- Isabela City
- Zamboanga City
- Dinagat Islands
Of the 13 areas under Alert Level 3 and 4, nine areas have shown improvements in their case and utilization data, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire. Batanes, Baguio, and Mt. Province remains at moderate to high-risk case classification, she added.
Metro Manila and the rest of the regions were placed under Alert Level 2, which allows establishments a maximum of 50 percent indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18, even if unvaccinated, and 70 percent outdoor capacity.
"However, we have observed that metrics for Lapu-Lapu City may require escalation from Alert Level 2 to Alert level 3," Vergeire said.
ALL REGIONS 'LOW-RISK' FOR COVID-19
All regions are now classified as low-risk for COVID-19 cases, according to Vergeire.
COVID-19 bed utilization nationwide is at a "low-risk" 46 percent, while ICU beds are 55 percent occupied, Vergeire said.
In Metro Manila, both ward beds and ICU beds are at a "low risk" utilization rate of 24.75 percent and 30.6 percent.
Meantime, Delta variant cases comprise 38.29 percent or 7,038 out of 18,383 sequenced samples with lineages.
In the latest run of genome sequencing conducted on 506 samples last Saturday, 426 cases were found to be Delta variant, 18 cases were Beta variant, and 10 cases were Alpha variant. The samples were collected in March, April, September, October, and November, according to Vergeire.
The DOH spokesperson, meantime, underscored the importance of observing minimum public health standards as government noted the rise of virus cases in Western nations.
"Historically, case increase in Asia and the Philippines occur few months after peaks in Western countries," Vergeire said.
The country's most recent surge peaked in September, the DOH earlier said. The decline in virus cases has been attributed to wide vaccination coverage.
The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 33.57 million individuals, while 41.99 million have received an initial dose as of Sunday. Government has set a 3-day nationwide vaccination drive from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.