MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Department of Health said the government is investigating the possibility of lowering the COVID-19 risk classification of several parts of the country to “Alert Level 0.”
According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, the country has been tallying fewer than 1,000 cases per day for the last six days, with the hope that the figure will drop to 500.
Metro Manila and 38 other areas that have shifted to Alert Level 1 this month are doing “so far so good” as businesses return to full capacity, said Duque.
“Malay natin baka pwede nang mag-deescalate to Alert Level 0. Pero ‘yang Alert Level 0 pag-uusapan pa ‘yan ng IATF,” Duque told state broadcaster People’s Television.
(Maybe we can deescalate to Alert Level 0. But the IATF will still discuss it.)
“Ano ba ang mga elements ng Alert Level 0? Pwede na bang magtanggal ng masks? Pwede na bang wag sumunod sa hand hygiene? ‘Yung ventilations, sufficient ba? Maraming mga tanong ang kinakailangan pang sagutin,” he added.
(What are the elements of Alert Level 0? Can we remove masks? Can we no longer practice hand hygiene? Are ventilations sufficient? There are many questions that need to be answered.)
According to Duque, experts and government advisers are already studying the proposal and will make recommendations to the IATF.
“Pinag-aaralan na ito ng ating expert panel, ng technical advisory group natin at magbibigay ng rekomendasyon sa mga darating na araw.”
(This is still being studied by our expert panel, the technical advisory group, and they will give recommendation in the following days.)
The IATF is also investigating whether other parts of the country can be placed on Alert Level 1, according to Duque.
As per the health chief, Alert 1 requires an area to be classified as low to minimal risk for virus cases and to use less than 50% of its healthcare capacity.
The health secretary also stated that the pandemic task force will discuss the possibility of downgrading other parts of the country to Alert Level 1. He had previously expressed reservations about the proposal to implement the lowest alert level across the country.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Philippines has reported over 3.6 million COVID-19 cases, with over 57,000 deaths.
With inputs from ABS-CBN News.