WHO warns vs relaxing restrictions as NCR vaccine coverage still inadequate
MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday warned against relaxing restrictions in Metro Manila as the vaccination coverage in the region remains inadequate.
WHO representative to the Philippines Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe stressed the need to strictly enforce quarantine rules to prevent worsening of COVID-19 transmission which may overwhelm the country’s health system.
“We have significant population coverage within NCR. I believe it’s about 60 percent now. But this is not adequate at this point to relax quarantine positions,” Abeyasinghe said in a televised briefing.
“Now, you may recraft the terminology but basically what we are advising is make sure that those restrictions are followed, that we don’t relax too much because we are not in a position where we can relax and experience further worsening of this transmission level because our health systems are just holding up,” he added.
Abeyasinghe’s reminder comes as the government shifts its policy by piloting the granular lockdown strategy with alert level system in Metro Manila starting September 16.
Under this policy, granular lockdowns will be imposed in specific areas where there is high COVID-19 transmission.
It will be complemented by the alert levels system which will determine the types of establishments and at what capacity are allowed.
“If there is a further increase in the current transmission levels, it could lead to an overwhelming of the hospital system. That’s why we need to be very careful in recalibrating how we respond to the current situation,” Abeyasinghe stressed.
Some 5.9 million or about 60.5 percent of the 9.8 million target population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Metro Manila.
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