Maintain COVID-19 Alert Level 1 until May elections, gov’t urged
MANILA, Philippines — An infectious disease expert on Saturday said he is not in favor of implementing the so-called Alert Level 0 for COVID-19 before the May 9 elections.
“I highly suggest that the nation will still be on Alert Level 1 until May election,” Dr. Rontgene Solante, also a member of the Vaccine Experts Panel, said in a text message to INQUIRER.net
He said he is worried that another surge of COVID-19 cases may happen due to mass gatherings during the election season, noting that there is still community transmission of the virus and waning immunity of vaccines.
The government, Solante said, should retain the requirement on wearing face masks especially in enclosed spaces should Alert Level 0 be imposed.
“My understanding is alert level zero is like treating COVID as if it is endemic already like other infectious diseases, flu, dengue, or even tuberculosis wherein we don’t need to worry of outbreaks that can overwhelm hospital utilization,” he said.
“My recommendation is that if ever we will shift to this alert level ‘zero,’ we will retain the face mask policy especially in enclosed spaces. And highly encourage that vulnerable population will continue to adapt the importance of masking,” he added.
Solante further suggested that 90 million, or 90 percent of over 100 million Filipinos, should also be vaccinated against COVID-19 before Alert Level 0 is implemented.
While he suggests holding off Alert Level 0 for now, Solante earlier said the Philippines now looks ready for a deescalation in COVID-19 alert level based on metrics.RELATED STORIES: IATF to discuss Alert Level 0 metrics, elements — Duque Possible ‘alert level 0’ on agenda: Will face masks finally go?
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