Palace says alert level can increase anytime if there is COVID-19 case surge

By LLANESCA T. PANTI, GMA News

Published December 29, 2021 3:22pm

Malaca?ang said Wednesday the government can increase the alert level at any given time if necessary amid the increased COVID-19 positivity rate in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles made the response after the OCTA Research Group reported that the COVID-19 positivity rate in Metro Manila has increased to over 5% as of Monday, December 27, and that the more transmissible Omicron variant could be causing it rather than the increased mobility due to Christmas season.

“We will make an announcement soon, if not within the day, perhaps tomorrow, for the alert level for January 1 to 15. But I would like to remind the public that while it is for January 1 to 15, hindi po bawal mag-increase later ang alert level in provinces, highly urbanized cities, kung kinakailangan (we are not barred from increasing the alert level in provinces, highly urbanized cities, as needed), without even completing 15 days,” Nograles said.

“That is provided under the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) guidelines. If the IATF sees a spike, the alert level can be accelerated immediately if it is what is needed,” he added.

The Philippines has been under Alert Level 2 for the whole month of December.

Under Alert Level 2 — the second lowest in the new alert level system — certain establishments and activities are allowed at 50% capacity indoors for fully vaccinated adults (and minors, even if unvaccinated) and 70% capacity outdoors.

“Let us not waste our previous efforts. Let us get vaccinated, wear face mask, as well as observe hygiene and social distancing,” Nograles added.

Malaca?ang also said Wednesday that local government units should impose a granular or small-scale lockdown in the event that there is surge in COVID-19 cases in their area.

“Granular lockdown has never been out of the equation. The LGUs can impose granular lockdown if they see clustering of COVID-19 cases,” Nograles added.

The Philippines has recorded at least four cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus so far.

Around 48 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to date, a figure still short of the government target of fully vaccinating 54 million by yearend.–AOL, GMA News

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