Metro Manila 'ripe' for downgrade to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 — Duque

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Metro Manila 'ripe' for downgrade to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 � Duque
A worker cleans along the railway tracks of a station in Manila on February 16, 2022.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila is "ripe" for de-escalation to the lowest COVID-19 alert level, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday as the pandemic task force deliberates on measures that will be enforced next month. 

The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response is scheduled to discuss this afternoon the recommendation of the Metro Manila Council to downgrade the capital region’s status to the most lenient Alert Level 1.

"Ang NCR ay pasado na sa kanilang mga metrics. Hinog in other words," Duque, who chairs the task force, told state broadcaster People’s Television.

(NCR has already passed the metric. It’s ripe, in other words.)

Metro Manila is currently at low risk for COVID-19. According to the health chief, less than 30% of hospital beds in the region are being used.

Local governments need to ensure that at least 80% of senior citizens and 70% of the eligible population in their localities have been fully immunized against COVID-19 before they can transition to Alert Level 1.

According to Duque, 83% of the metropolis’ senior citizens and more than 100% of the 9.8 million target population in Metro Manila have received COVID-19 jabs.

The pandemic task force will also discuss the possible de-escalation of other areas to the lowest alert level, Duque added.

A region or an area will move to "new normal" once Alert Level 1 is declared. The DOH earlier said there will be no restrictions and capacity limits under the "new normal." The face mask mandate, however, will remain.

The Philippines has reported more than 3.65 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 56,000 deaths.


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