Is It Time for Alert Level 1 for the Entire Philippines?

The health chief shares his take.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

It is too early to place the entire Philippines under the lowest level of COVID-19 restrictions, the country's health chief said Tuesday as the government looks into the further easing of pandemic protocols to reenergize the economy.

Areas under Alert Level 2 should boost their COVID-19 vaccination rates first before they can transition to the more relaxed Alert Level 1, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said.

"Ayaw nating mawaldas natin ‘yung ating mga napagtagumpayan na kaya kailangan mag-ingat tayo," Duque said in an interview on dzBB.

"Sa bandang huli ayaw na nating mag-widespread lockdowns kasi ang laking dagok nito sa ekonomiya natin. Nakita naman natin na sumadsad kaya naman sinasama natin sa panukatan o metrics ay yung vaccination coverage," he added.

READ: Are We Out of the Woods? What's Next After Alert Level 1

Duque's comments came after Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Karl Chua urged President Rodrigo Duterte to ease COVID-19 restrictions across the country to further reopen the economy.

Metro Manila and 38 other areas are under Alert Level 1 until March 15, meaning children are allowed to go out and businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity.

Should the entire Philippines be placed under Alert Level 1 in the coming days, the country is estimated to gain P16.5 billion more per week of economic activity according to Chua.

A nationwide easing of restrictions will also mean P5.2 billion more in salaries per week and jobs for some 297,000 unemployed Filipinos, he said.


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