As COVDI-19 cases continues to decline, the government is now considering placing the entire country under Alert Level 1 and later other areas with low cases of infection to level zero, Department of Health Secreatary Francisco Duque III said.
During a Palace briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government is looking forward to having all provinces, highly-urbanized cities and independent component cities under Alert Level 1.
“‘Pag pinag-usapan natin ‘yung susunod na level pagkatapos ng Alert Level 1, ‘yan po ay pag-uusapan ‘di (When we talk about the next level after Alert Level 1, that will be considered, not) per area but for the country already,” she added.
Vergeire clarified that Alert Level 0 is “not a formal term and not an official term yet” by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the IATF is studying Alert Level 0 and whether health protocols like wearing of face mask would stay as the threat of Covid-19 continues.
Duque said an area should pass four criteria before it could be placed under Alert Level 1: it must have low to minimal caseload, low-risk health care utilization rate (HCUR), 70 percent vaccination rate of the general population, and 80 percent vaccination rate among senior citizens.
He noted that the government has not recorded any increase in COVID cases even after easing restrictions in Metro Manila and 38 more areas.
Vergeire noted that discussions on further easing of restrictions and refocusing of resources would start when all areas nationwide are under Alert Level 1.
She said the government would review whether dedicated hospital beds for Covid-19 cases, quarantine facilities in local government units and testing surveillance are still needed.
The National Capital Region and 47 other areas have been placed under Alert Level 1 from March 16 to March 31.
With additional reports: Maria Teresa Montemayor, pna.gov.ph–Mayen Jaymalin, philstar
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