DILG says imposing lockdown has no merits yet now

By GISELLE OMBAY, GMA News

Published January 10, 2022 9:30am

The government is not yet discussing possibilities of reimposing a lockdown or raising the quarantine status to Alert Level 5, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Monday.

“Wala naman ‘yan sa ating discussions sapagkat hindi pa naman nagme-merit para magkaroon ng lockdown,” DILG Secretary Eduardo A?o said during an Unang Balita interview.

(That is not in our discussions because it would still not merit yet to have a lockdown.)

He explained that they are not yet doing so as the vaccination rate is high particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR) and several areas in the country are still under Alert Level 3.

Metro Manila is currently under Alert Level 3 until January 15.

The government also placed its adjacent provinces Bulacan, Cavite, and Rizal under Alert Level 3 from January 3 until January 15, while Laguna is under the same alert level starting January 7 until January 15.

Fourteen more cities and provinces were placed under Alert Level 3 starting January 9 until 15 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

A?o said that the Inter-Agency Task Force is however looking at further raising Alert Level 4 in the NCR as recommended by the Department of Health (DOH), but they will still discuss this with the Metro Manila mayors.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday floated the possibility of upgrading the NCR to Alert Level 4 as COVID-19 cases continue to surge and healthcare care utilization rate in the region is nearing moderate risk.

The Philippine National Police is preparing for the implementation of stringent measures under Alert Level 4 if the current protocols fail to prevent the increase in COVID-19 cases, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos earlier said.

Carlos said police were prepared for the recalibration of deployment and strategies.

“We will take the cue from the NCR (National Capital Region) which has already implemented Alert Level 3 starting Monday, January 3. So far, everything is working smoothly. We instructed our police personnel to be fully aware of the guidelines,” Carlos said in a statement.

A?o however on Monday said the metrics are not yet enough to warrant upgrading the alert level in NCR to level 4.

“Sa ngayon, ang ating healthcare utilization rate ay hindi pa naman nagme-merit para tayo ay umabot sa Alert Level 4. Titignan natin sa mga susunod na araw,” A?o said.

(Right now, our healthcare utilization does not merit yet for us to raise to Alert Level 4. We will monitor this in the coming days.)

Should the government decide to hoist Alert Level 4 in NCR, A?o noted that indoor establishments will only be allowed to operate at 10% capacity for fully vaccinated individuals while 30% will be allowed outdoors. An additional 10% venue capacity will be added if an establishment has a safety seal.

Non-essential activities that would constitute gatherings will also be prohibited, he added.

“Ang equivalent niyan is parang Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) or General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with higher restrictions,” he said.

A?o then asked the public to impose self-restrictions with regards to mobility and isolate immediately if they got exposed or experienced any COVID-19-related symptoms.

The Philippines on Sunday logged a record-high 28,707 new COVID-19 infections, raising the country’s total tally to 2,965,447 with active cases now over 128,000. –KG, GMA News

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