Metro Manila not yet ready for Alert Level 2: doctors’ group

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2022 12:10 PM

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MANILA – It is not yet the right time to place Metro Manila under looser quarantine restrictions, the head of a doctors’ group said, even as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country dipped.

The Philippines on Wednesday announced 15,789 new COVID-19 cases, the second straight day the daily tally fell below 20,000, according to data from the Department of Health.

Dr. Maricar Limpin of the Philippine College of Physicians, however, said this number may not be reflective of how many new COVID-19 cases there really are in the country.

“I think we have to bear in mind that this number may not be truly reflective of the real COVID cases that we have in the country because many of the people are actually not being tested no, so I still believe that the numbers are still quite high,” she said.

“And therefore, what I’d like to, the message I’d like to relay to everyone is that we have to continue practicing the minimum public health standards so that we will not get infected.”

“And then number 2, if ever the government is thinking of downgrading the alert level, I hope that this is not going to happen in the near future because I don’t think that this is the right time to do it,” she said.

Asked when Metro Manila can be placed under Alert Level 2, Limpin said, “Well as I said no I expect that probably we will still have a high number up to, maybe next week.”

“So we can probably make a decision after the, by the middle of February. So maybe February 15, before February 15 we’d be able to see if we will be able to downgrade it to Level 2.”

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 until January 31.

The third alert in a 5-level system bans face-to-face classes, contact sports, fun fairs, and casinos. 

It also limited to fully vaccinated individuals and reduced to 30 percent the indoor operating capacity of dine-in services, religious gatherings, fitness studios, personal care services, and recreational venues.

Hospitals in NCR are feeling the impact of a lower number of new COVID-19 cases, Limpin said.

“Yes definitely ‘no, we can feel the decrease in the number of COVID cases here in the hospitals,” she said.

“Because we are now seeing now less number of COVID cases and so this actually gives us, you know, some breathing space, ‘no, so we can also attend to the other non-COVID cases.” 

“And added to this also, the healthcare workers that were previously affected, or who got infected as well, they are already back to work ‘no so that actually gives us more people to really man the posts.”

Limpin noted, however, that COVID-19 cases seem to be increasing in the provinces.

“What we have seen during the first week of January, we are now seeing this is the provinces, so particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao area,” she said.

--ANC, 27 January 2022