Pilot run of COVID-19 alert levels system to expand outside Metro Manila

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Pilot run of COVID-19 alert levels system to expand outside Metro Manila
Individuals line up for Pfizer vaccine at the bleacher of Marikina Sports Center turned into a vaccination hub on Sept. 3, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s pandemic task force is expanding the COVID-19 alert level system outside of Metro Manila, placing 19 areas outside of the capital region under varying alert levels from October 20 to October 31.

Malacañang announced Tuesday that Negros Oriental and Davao Occidental will be placed under Alert Level 4, the strictest in the four-tiered system.

Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Siquijor, Davao City and Davao del Norte will be under Alert Level 3, while Batangas, Quezon province, Lucena City, Bohol, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Cebu province, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental will be under Alert Level 2.

Alert Level 1 is not yet hoisted anywhere as areas must now vaccinate at least 70% of its senior citizens, people with comorbidities and eligible population before the lowest alert level is raised.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the expansion of the alert levels system is still part of the government’s study on whether this new policy would be effective in curbing coronavirus infections.

"We are expanding our pilot implementation of the alert level system habang binubusisi pa talaga ‘yung resulta ng initial pilot. ‘Pag napag-aralan naman talaga na mas epektibo itong alert level system, we will implement it on a nationwide basis," Roque said.

(We are expanding our pilot implementation of the alert level system while the results of the initial pilot are still being examined. If studies would show that the alert level system is more effective, we will implement it on a nationwide basis.)

While results on the pilot implementation of the alert level system have yet to be released, Roque suggested that it may have been successful in stemming the rise of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, where it was first put in place.

What do alert levels mean?

The alert level system, which was first implemented in Metro Manila back in September, is a new government strategy to curb infections without resorting to widespread lockdowns, allowing some businesses to operate at a certain capacity and under certain conditions.

Alert levels are based on the virus transmission rate, hospital bed utilization rate and intensive care utilization rate of a city or municipality.

For example, under Alert Level 4, indoor dining is allowed at 10% capacity provided that they both customers and workers are fully-vaccinated. This expands to 30% under Alert Level 3, 50% under Alert Level 2 and 100% under Alert Level 1.

Outdoor dining is allowed at 30% capacity under Alert Level 4, at 50% under Alert Level 3, 70% under Alert Level 2, and 100% under Alert Level 1.

For a full guide to the alert level system, read this guide by Philstar.com.

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