OCTA: With positivity rate going down, almost 40% want Alert Level 1 in NCR after elections

OCTA: With positivity rate going down, almost 40% want Alert Level 1 in NCR after elections
Parents accompany their kids for the vaccination Filipinos aged 5 to 11 years at an SM mall in Sta. Rasa, Laguna on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.
The STAR / Geremy Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — With positivity rates still dropping in Metro Manila and Calabarzon, 38% of recent survey respondents voted to move to Alert Level 1 after the 2022 elections in May, independent pandemic monitor OCTA Research said Wednesday. 

In a series of tweets, OCTA Research fellow Guido David disclosed the results of a Twitter survey with more than 1,000 respondents conducted by the think tank which found that 29% voted for Alert Level 1 by the start of March.

Per the survey results, 26% also said that there was not enough information, while 7% of respondents said they wanted Alert Level 1 to be imposed by February 15. 

This comes as OCTA also observed continuously decreasing positivity rates in Metro Manila and Calabarzon with all provinces in the two regions tallying positivity rates of less than 10 percent. 

Positivity rate refers to the percentage of all coronavirus tests that come out positive. According to the World Health Organization, the ideal benchmark for opening economies is a 5 percent positivity rate. 

David said that Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, and Rizal are now classified as low-risk while Batangas remained under moderate risk. 

"Quezon is very close to being the first province under very low risk classification," he also said. 

Later Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Health recorded 2,671 cases of COVID-19. Only 9.6 percent of the 25,629 cases came out positive. 

NTF: Vaccination lagging behind in BARMM

Speaking at the Laging Handa briefing earlier Wednesday, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Medical Adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa asserted that vaccination numbers still have to go up before Alert Level 1 can be considered. 

According to Herbosa, authorities are set to visit Basilan and several areas in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to assess why the rate of vaccination is sluggish in these areas. One obstacle in those areas, he said, is that some vaccination sites are not accessible.

"In my opinion, we can forego masks in open-air areas if the majority of the population is fully vaccinated," he said in Filipino. 

"There are still features we have to watch out for. Number one, the emergence of new variants. Number 2, the waning of antibodies," he added.

He also disclosed that 780,000 doses of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine are scheduled to arrive in the country later Wednesday evening. 

Herbosa also urged organizers of political rallies and other physical campaign events of election candidates to implement public health standards due to the pandemic.

"Some of them shake hands, there are also those who take selfies. I know that's prohibited," he said in Filipino. 

"These are all high-risk activities that I hope our campaign managers make sure the rules are followed by their supporters."

— Franco Luna 

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