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Health chief wants Philippines to remain under Alert Level 2

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Health chief wants Philippines to remain under Alert Level 2
Individuals line up for Astrazeneca vaccine at Batasan National Highschool in Brgy. Batasan Hills in Quezon City during the last day of the government's three-day vaccine campaign on Dec. 11, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III prefers that the Philippines remains under Alert Level 2 as mobility is expected to increase during the holidays and as the Omicron coronavirus variant threatens the country’s reopening.

“Ang mobility tataas na naman ngayong kapaskuhan, alam natin ‘yan. At mayroong nagbabadyang banta ng Omicron variant. So maigi na mas konserbatibo tayo,” Duque told state-run People’s Television.

(Our mobility will increase during the holidays, we know that. And there’s the looming threat of the Omicron variant. So it's better that we are conservative.)

Duque said that under Alert Level 2, many establishments are allowed to open up to 80% anyway, depending if they have a government-issued Safety Seal and on the vaccine coverage in their area.

The entire country is under Alert Level 2 until December 15, but Duque said that the alert levels will be up for discussion by the government’s pandemic task force on Wednesday.

Coronavirus curbs in the country have eased significantly as new cases plunge to 17-month lows from a peak in September, when new infections hit over 26,000 in a single day.

But the Omicron variant, which is suspected to be more infectious and has spread to 38 countries globally, remains a specter that has prompted the government to tighten borders anew in an attempt to keep the mutated virus out. — Xave Gregorio

ALERT LEVEL SYSTEM COVID-19 PANDEMIC FRANCISCO DUQUE III
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