Metro Manila, Select Areas 'Ripe' for Alert Level 1, Says Duque

Further easing by March?
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

Metro Manila and select areas of the Philippines are "ripe" for de-escalation to COVID-19 Alert Level 1, the country's health chief said Thursday ahead of the enforcement of new virus restrictions for March.

The government's inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response will meet Thursday afternoon to discuss the call of Metro Manila mayors to further ease virus restrictions to Alert Level 1 from Alert Level 2, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said.

"Ang NCR, pasado naman na sa mga metrics -- hinog in other words," Duque said in a televised briefing.

Alert Level 1 or the "new normal" is the most relaxed in the Philippines' COVID-19 alert level system. This will allow all businesses to operate as long as minimum public health standards are observed.

Duque said Metro Manila is classified as "low-risk" for COVID-19 with only 30% of hospital beds in the region in use, which means that it is "truly and genuinely ripe for de-escalation."

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The decision to de-escalate the alert level in Metro Manila however will consider other factors too, Duque said. The IATF will also discuss the possible de-escalation of other areas to Alert Level 1 by March 1.

"Hindi lang NCR ang tatalakayin mamaya, lahat po ng nakaabot na sa ating tinaguriang metrics," Duque added.

Malacañang earlier this week said experts were studying placing select areas of the country under Alert Level 1 as COVID-19 cases continue to decrease.


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