Metro Manila might go back to Alert Level 2 if COVID-19 admissions rise

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Metro Manila might go back to Alert Level 2 if COVID-19 admissions rise
Park-goers and vendors stroll around the Plaza Rajah Sulayman in Manila despite the erratic downpour on the Sunday night, June 12, 2022.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 12:18 p.m.) — Metro Manila could go back to Alert Level 2 — which would mean more restrictions against the spread of COVID-19 —  if cases in the capital region continue to increase, the Department of Health said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted that stricter quarantine protocols will be implemented if the rise in cases leads to a significant increase in hospital admissions. Metro Manila is under Alert Level 1 until June 15.

"The possibility is there. Kung magtutuloy-tuloy ang mga kaso syempre makakakita tayo ng patuloy na pagtaas at baka ‘yung admissions natin sa ospital ay tumaas. Therefore, pag ganyan ang nangyari, magshi-shift tayo at mag-e-escalate sa Alert Level 2," Vergeire said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

(The possibility is there. If cases continue to increase, hospital admissions may also rise. Therefore if that happens, we will shift and escalate to Alert Level 2.).

What is Alert Level 2 again?

According to government guidelines, Alert Level 2 will be hoisted in areas where case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or cases are low but increasing, or cases are low and decreasing but bed utilization and ICU utilization is increasing.

People not covered by these mobility restrictions are allowed to move in areas of the same or different community quarantine classification, subject to reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination.

Except for casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments, business activities will be allowed at 50% indoor venue capacity for fully-vaccinated individuals and at 70% outdoor venue capacity.

In a message to reporters, DOH clarified that escalation would depend on the metrics of alert level system set by the government's pandemic response task force.

"As long as the admissions and severity of cases in the hospitals do not affect our healthcare utilization rate, Alert Level 1 is still in effect. But, we have to be mindful that continuing increases in the cases might lead to escalation of the alert level," the department said.

'Rise still not significant'

Vergeire said 13 out of the 17 local government units in the capital region have reported increases in cases in the past two weeks. But she stressed that the rise in cases is "still not significant" because it is not yet affecting hospital admissions.

“Ang pinakaimportante ay hindi pa natin nakikitang tumataas ang severe and critical na mga kaso at hindi pa rin po nagkakaroon ng problema sa ating mga ospital,” Vergeire said.

(What’s important is that we don’t see a spike in severe and critical cases, and we have no problems in hospitals.)

The DOH reported Sunday 308 additional COVID-19 infections — the highest in nearly two months.

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