Metro Manila’s shift to Alert Level 1 hangs in the balance as case trend remains at moderate risk
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the continuing decline in the number of COVID-19 infections, the Department of Health on Saturday appeared not inclined yet to favor a shift to Alert Level 1 in Metro Manila as proposed by the business sector.
Speaking during the Laging handa public briefing, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that average daily attack rate (ADAR) at the National Capital Region remained high at 10.5, while COVID-19 case trend remained at moderate risk.
ADAR is the average number of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 individuals.
“Sa ngayon po, ang National Capital Region ay moderate risk pa rin ang ating classification. It’s because even though our hospitals are not full — low risk tayo sa ating healthcare utilization — our case trends, nasa moderate risk pa rin po tayo,” she Vergeire.
(As of now, the National Capital Region is still at moderate risk against COVID-19. It’s because even though our hospitals are not full — our healthcare utilization is at low risk — our case trend is still at moderate risk.)
“Our current average daily attack rate in the National Capital Region is still at 10.5,” continued Vergeire, noting that the ideal ADAR should be below seven.
Vergeire’s remark was in response to questions on whether the country is already ready to a shift to the more lenient alert level status amid calls by the business sector to ease the restrictions to enable the economy to flourish.
For the entire Philippines to deescalate to the most lenient Alert Level 1, the case trend should be minimal to low risk, she said.
“Ang ating new normal is equivalent to our Alert Level 1. So, para ang ating buong bansa ay mag-shift sa Alert Level 1 kailangan mayroon po tayong minimal to low risk na case trend… Ang ating (Our) average daily attack rate should be less than seven,” the health official said.
(Our new normal is equivalent to our Alert Level 1. So, for our entire country to shift to Alert Level 1, we need to have a minimal to low risk case trend.)
This also means that healthcare utilization, or usage of hospitals should also be at low risk, she said.
On top of these, vaccination in all regions should be over 70 percent among the target population and safety standards must be observed.
“Kailangan makita rin natin na ang bakunahan sa lahat ng rehiyon sa ating bansa ay mataas na more than 70 percent among the targeted individuals and additionally, kailangan lahat po ng spaces natin… dapat po nakakasunod sa ating mga safety protocols,” noted Vergeire.
(We also need to see the vaccination coverage in all regions in the country to be more than 70 percent among the targeted individuals and additionally, our spaces should follow safety protocols.)
Currently, the Philippines is at moderate risk for COVID-19.
The country recently registered 3,788 new COVID-19 cases, driving the overall caseload to 3,630,637.
Earlier, a group of doctors warned against drastically shifting to the more lenient alert level status, saying that COVID-19 cases may rise again if people become complacent.
Dr. Maricar Limpin, president of the Philippine College of Physicians, said hospitals have been seeing a decreased number of COVID-19 patients but noted that the number of active cases is possibly “underestimated” because some people don’t get themselves tested.
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