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PH to retain COVID alert level system – Nograles

Photo of Karlo Nograles for story: PH to retain COVID alert level system – Nograles

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

MANILA, Philippines — Acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said the alert level system would be retained in the National Action Plan (NAP) to fight the pandemic.

“The alert level system will be institutionalized to serve as our warning system for possible increase in cases or outbreaks,” Nograles said in a statement.

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He said Alert Level 1 would be the “new normal” and would focus on improving risk management.

The Palace would wait for the NAP to be presented to President Rodrigo Duterte and to the pandemic task force in early March, he said.

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“We expect NAP to update care provision and health system protocols to include telemed and home-based care and updated plans for procuring of treatment medicines against COVID-19,” he said.

The Palace also expects it to underscore the need for full vaccination, administration of booster shots, and pediatric vaccination.

The plan will also provide measures to improve investments, promote jobs and accelerate economic growth and development.

Roadmap

Vince Dizon, presidential adviser for COVID-19 response, said the government had started crafting the “roadmap to the new normal” and the goal now was to bring down cases to less than 1,000 a day this month.

With increased vaccination and the fact that the new Omicron variant is milder than Delta, “we feel that it is now time to start discussing and planning out a roadmap so that we can already start living with COVID-19,” Dizon said.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration on Tuesday clarified that only fully vaccinated foreigners coming from more than 150 countries listed in an executive order can enter the Philippines without a visa starting Feb. 10.

In an advisory, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreigners whose country of nationality was not listed under Executive Order No. 408 could not avail of the visa-free privilege, thus they were required to secure visas before traveling to the Philippines.

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Under the said EO, nationals from 157 countries may be admitted into the country without a visa for an initial stay of 30 days.

These countries include Canada, Japan, Singapore, the United States, New Zealand, Malaysia, and South Korea.

‘Fully vaccinated’

Morente said that foreign tourists from countries not listed under EO 408 need to secure a 9(a) visa and an entry exemption document (EED) through any of the Philippine embassies or consulates abroad.

“They should also be fully vaccinated or else they will be denied entry even if they have valid 9(a) visas and EED,” he added.

Morente, meanwhile, explained that former Filipinos qualified to avail of the one-year Balikbayan privilege should also be fully vaccinated before they could enter the country.

The Balikbayan program allows former Filipinos, including their foreign spouse and dependents who are traveling with them, to enter the country visa-free for one year.

READ: Senators open to removal of alert level system

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TAGS: alert level system, COVID-19 pandemic, national action plan
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