MANILA— Government on Friday said it had "very transparent" metrics for tightening restrictions and would not raise COVID-19 alert levels haphazardly over the specter of the heavily mutated Omicron coronavirus variant.
The whole country is under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 until Dec. 15. The highest Alert Level 5 is raised only in areas where COVID-19 figures pose high or critical risk, and where the health care utilization has reached at least 85 percent, said epidemiology bureau chief Dr. Alethea de Guzman.
"Ang pagtaas natin sa alert level ay dahil ang pagtaas ng mga kaso sa isang lugar ay sinasabayan din ng pagtaas o pagkapuno ng ating mga ospital," she said in a Malacañang press briefing.
(Our escalation of alert level is prompted by the increase in cases in an area, while hospitals are getting full.)
If COVID-19 cases continue to improve, "then we will not shift to any higher alert level," said Palace acting spokesman Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
"Iyong metrics po natin is very, very transparent at hindi naman natin ito basta-basta gagawin ng IATF until based on the metrics and parameters, ay kailangan nating I-elevate ang alert level," he said in the same briefing.
(Our metrics is very, very transparent and the IATF will not elevate the alert level haphazardly, until necessary, based on the metrics and parameters.)
De Guzman urged the public, "Puwede tayong magbantay, lalo na kung nakakakita na tayo ng pagtaas ng kaso, nagre-report ng biglaang pagtaas ng admission, that should be a signal there should be enhanced response para hindi na tayo mag-escalate."
(We can be on the lookout, especially if we see an increase in cases and a spike in hospital admissions is reported, those should be a signal there should be enhanced response so we would not escalate out alert level.)
The country on Tuesday recorded its lowest daily COVID-19 tally so far this year.
The Philippines, which is one of the region's worst-hit countries in terms of infections, deaths and economic losses, has gradually reopened its borders and economy.
It has yet to report a case of the Omicron, which the World Health Organization classified as a "variant of interest."
— With a report from Reuters
Video courtesy of PTV