Gov’t mulls lower COVID-19 alert for Metro Manila


Posted at Jan 25 2022 02:53 PM

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Authorities are looking into easing restrictions in Metro Manila as its COVID-19 figures improved, Malacañang said on Tuesday. 

“Dahil sa gumagandang datos sa NCR, tatalakayin sa IATF (inter-agency task force) kung handa na bang ma-deescalate ang Metro Manila sa Alert Level 2,” said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. 

“Pag-aaralan pa po ito ng IATF at asahan ninyong may lalabas na desisyon bago matapos ang buwan ng Enero,” he said in a press briefing.

(Due to improving figures in NCR, the IATF will discuss whether it is ready to de-escalate Metro Manila to Alert Level 2. The IATF will still study this and expect that a decision will be issued before January ends.) 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said the uptick in Metro Manila's coronavirus infections has reached its peak. But he said it was still too early to tell if COVID-19 cases have begun to decline.

NCR can go down to Alert Level 2 if it has a moderate-risk or 0 to 200 percent growth rate within 2 weeks, an average daily attack rate of 1 to 7 cases per 100,000 population, and 49 percent and below healthcare utilization rate, Duque said.

The region's COVID-19 bed occupancy is at 41.8 percent while its intensive care unit beds are 47 percent full as of Sunday, according to the health department.

"Baka kailangan na kailangan ay tingnan na rin kung talaga namang malinaw na ang healthcare utilization rate ay nagkaroon na ng pagbabaklas ‘no, iyong decoupling," Duque said in a public briefing. 

"Kumbaga tumaas ang kaso, pero iyong mga severe at critical nasa baba, okay, so may decoupling kung tawagin. Baka pag-usapan iyan na puwede na, na magbaba to Alert Level 2," he continued. 

(Perhaps it is urgent to look at whether or not there has been a clmear decoupling in the healthcare utilization. In other words, cases went up, but the severe and critical ones are low, so there's decoupling. That may be discussed when it comes lowering to Alert Level 2.) 

Metro Manila is under Alert 3 until Jan. 31. 

This prohibits face-to-face classes, contact sports, fun fairs, and casinos. Unvaccinated people are also banned from the region's public transport while Alert 3 is up.