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Authorities also watching COVID situation in provinces near Metro Manila

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Authorities also watching COVID situation in provinces near Metro Manila
People visit a park in Quezon City, east of Manila on New Year's Day on January 1, 2022.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — Authorities are keeping an eye on provinces neighboring Metro Manila after the capital region went into the stricter Alert Level 3 over fears of an “exponential growth” in COVID-19 infections.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel Monday, Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the government is “observing very closely” the situation in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal.

"We’re looking at the neighboring provinces of the National Capital Region because they really form an integral part of the Metro Manila area," Malaya.

"The Department of Health is getting all the necessary data so we will get a clear picture of the situation in those areas," he added.

RELATED: For people in provinces near Manila, inclusion in 'NCR Plus' more a minus

Last week, National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said authorities met with leaders from Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon to discuss their preparations for a possible Omicron-fueled increase in cases. 

Alert Level 3 is in effect in Metro Manila until January 15. Under Alert Level 3, salons, churches, restaurants and parks will open at reduced capacities. Face-to-face classes and contact sports will be suspended.

The mayors of Metro Manila have also agreed in principle to require unvaccinated people to stay at home except for essential trips to get food, water and medicine. Although local governments have yet to pass ordinances for the restrictions on unvaccinated people, these will include barring them from malls, restaurants and other public places.

Malaya said the implementation of strict border controls is not recommended at the moment to protect the reopening of the economy, which has been hit hard by the health crisis.

"However, the local government units can impose reasonable regulations," he said.

The government reported 4,600 additional COVID-19 infections Sunday, bringing the total number of active cases to 21,418. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (DILG)

OMICRON VARIANT

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