Entire Philippines to stay under Alert Level 2 in first half of January: gov't

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 30 2021 03:24 PM | Updated as of Dec 30 2021 03:58 PM

People exit the site after getting vaccinated at the Ramon Magsaysay High School in Manila on Dec. 30, 2021. The OCTA Research group expressed alarm over the COVID-19 positivity rate in the Philippines after it rose to 4.5 percent last Wednesday, compared to the 1.1 positivity rate last Dec. 21. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
People exit the site after getting vaccinated at the Ramon Magsaysay High School in Manila on Dec. 30, 2021. The OCTA Research group expressed alarm over the COVID-19 positivity rate in the Philippines after it rose to 4.5 percent last Wednesday, compared to the 1.1 positivity rate last Dec. 21. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— The entire Philippines will maintain current restrictions under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in the first half of January, government said on Thursday, following a slight uptick in coronavirus infections and the threat of the omicron variant. 

The country recorded 889 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest in over a month, with the health ministry attributing the spike to increased movement due to the holidays.

The COVID-19 task force "approved the recommendation to maintain all provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities under Alert Level 2 from January 1, 2022 until January 15, 2022," said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. 

Alert 2 allows select establishments to operate at up to 50 percent of their indoor capacity for fully vaccinated individuals.

“Sa ngayon, very stable pa rin ang ating situation (right now, the situation is still stable), though we increased little by little ang ating cases... But we are still making some observation, particularly those areas that are increasing already,” vaccination chief Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday. 

President Rodrigo Duterte's adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion earlier said "moving to Alert Level 1 does not really help." 

He reasoned that businesses recovered 80 percent of their pre-pandemic sales this Christmas and consumers are expected to spend less in the first quarter of 2022 because of their holiday purchases and gatherings. 
 
The Philippines has detected at least 4 cases of the omicron variant that is linked to a surge in infections in some countries. 

Of its 109 million population, the Philippines has fully vaccinated at least 48.6 million, with days left to hit its year-end target of completing 54 million inoculations. 

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