Metro Manila mayors will meet on Tuesday to discuss the possible shift to Alert Level 1 or "new normal" by March, the MMDA said, in time for the Philippines' second anniversary since it first went to quarantine in 2020.
MMDA officer-in-charge Romando Artes told Philippine Star the mayors would convene to discuss health care utilization, risk classification and decline in COVID-19 cases in deciding whether to retain Alert Level 2 or ease to the lowest alert level for the first time since 2020.
This comes as the country sees a decline in infections after the omicron surge, with its lowest COVID-19 case tally of 2022 recorded on Sunday at 1,712.
"Tingin ko handa na po kami sa Alert Level 1. The trend is a downward trend and our people are already trained to follow minimum health standards even at Alert Level 1," Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte told ABS-CBN News.
Alert Level 1, the lowest of the five-tier alert-based COVID restriction system, means all restrictions will be lifted while maintaining the minimum public health standards of wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing as people learn to "live with the virus", Health Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said earlier.
To get to Alert Level 1, case transmission should be low and decreasing, and total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate in hospitals are low, according to Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 guidelines.
"'Pag ito hong metrics ay nagpatuloy, maaari na po sigurong i-consider ng IATF and ng Metro Manila Council na mag-deescalate na rin po tayo ng alert level," Cris Saruca, director of the Metro Manila Council Secretariat, told DZBB on Sunday.