Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila from January 3 as cases rise, Omicron raises risk


MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila will go to the more strict Alert Level 3 from January 3 to January 15, 2022, the Palace said Friday evening.

The heightened alert level is in response to an increase in cases of COVID-19 and the detection of three local cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the Philippines.

"The epidemiological investigation on the three local cases indicate there is high possibility of local transmission ng Omicron," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who is also acting presidential spokesperson, told media.

The Palace initially said the entire Philippines would be under Alert Level 2 until January 15. The Department of Health, however, tallied 2,961 new COVID-19 cases on the last day of the year. The announcement of heightened restrictions in the capital came a few hours later.

"In the coming days, we may see an increase in active cases," Nograles also said.

Metro Manila went into Alert Level 2 in early November as cases were going down.

What is Alert Level 3?

According to the government's alert system, Alert Level 3 will be raised in areas where COVID-19 cases are high or increasing and where there is an increasing utilization of hospital beds and Intensive Care Unit beds.

Cinemas, movie houses and other businesses are allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity for fully-vaccinated people and 50% outdoor venue capacity.

Most activities, including gatherings for wakes and funerals, are allowed at 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated people and 50% outdoor venue capacity.

The government’s pandemic task force determines these activities to be “high-risk for transmission” and will not be allowed to operate under Alert Level 3.

  • Face-to-face classes for basic education unless approved by the pandemic task force or the Office of the President
  • Contact sports, except those conducted in a bubble-type setup
  • Funfairs/peryas and kid amusement industries like playgrounds, playroom and kiddie rides
  • Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls and theaters
  • Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments unless allowed by the pandemic task force or the Office of the President
  • Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household

Government agencies will be fully operational under Alert Level 3, with at least 30% of its workers reporting on site. — with a report by Xave Gregorio

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