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DOH says Metro Manila may be placed on Alert Level 1 if COVID cases continue to decline

By Gaile Gregorio Published Nov 09, 2021 6:51 pm

The Department of Health (DOH) said Nov. 9 that if new COVID-19 infections continue to fall, restrictions in Metro Manila could be lifted to their lowest level, Alert Level 1.

The five-day trend of new positive cases has been below 3,000 each day.

Nov. 5: 2,376 new cases out of 44,182 tested.

Nov. 6: 2,656 new cases out of 48,218 tested.

Nov. 7:  2,605 new cases out of 48, 450 tested.

Nov. 8:  2,087 new cases out of 43, 206 tested.

Nov. 9: 1,409 new cases out of 30, 716 tested.

In a televised press briefing, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said the alert level in Metro Manila may be lowered before the holidays. "Depende iyan. Titingnan natin ang numero, ang datos. Posible na kapag below 1,000 tayo or 500 cases per day, baka puwede nating ibaba pa ng Alert Level,” he said. “Sino ba naman ang may ayaw na mas mababa ang ating alert level, e mas malaking bahagi naman ng ekonomiya ang ating mabubuksan at mas marami tayong mababawing trabaho na nawala?"

Duque added that the decision to put Metro Manila under a more relaxed Alert Level 2 quarantine classification from Nov. 5 until Nov. 21 was not rushed and was decided by 54 scientists and experts.

When asked if the health secretary is bothered by photos on social media showing kids and senior citizens gathering and not observing physical distancing, he answered, “Siyempre nakakaalarma ito. Nangangamba ako dahil nga ‘pag iyong nagkukumpol-kumpulan, posibleng makakita na naman tayo ng pagsipa ng mga kaso at dapat po ito maiwasan natin sa pamamaraan na atin nang naitatag at napatunayang effective. Ito po ‘yung pagsunod sa minimum public health standards.”

Duque reiterated that the combination of face masks, face shields and physical distancing, as well as the use of hand sanitizers and the practice of cough etiquette, will give the public 95% protection from the transmission of the virus. 

The health chief reminded the general public of the efficacy of vaccines. “Ang mga bakuna na ito ay napatunayan nang epektibo laban po sa mga severe to critical [cases].”

On monitoring of increased activities and mobility of people due to eased restrictions, Duque said there will be weekly monitoring by the DOH and Epidemiology Bureau to observe if the growth rate changes from negative to positive and if the average daily rate increases.

Duque also discussed the first recorded B.1.617.1 COVID-19 variant case in Pampanga, formerly known as the Kappa variant, a variant designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as still under study if it has a higher risk than the Delta variant.

In the Philippines, it was detected on a 32-year-old male from Floridablanca, Pampanga.

On the mandatory vaccination of beneficiaries of 4Ps, the health chief has said the objective is to give protection to 70% of the population and to achieve herd immunity. He added that local government units have the power to pass ordinances to mandate vaccination.

The total number of coronavirus infections in the Philippines has surpassed 2.8 million. As of Nov. 9, the country has fully immunized at least 32.64% of its 109 million population.