56 of 82 provinces placed under COVID-19 alert level 1 | Inquirer News

56 of 82 provinces placed under COVID-19 alert level 1

Passengers in an LRT 2 train in Recto Station in Manila STORY: 56 of 82 provinces placed under COVID-19 alert level 1

File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — Most parts of the country, or 56 out of the total of 82 provinces, will remain under alert level 1, the least restrictive under the government’s alert level system for COVID-19, until the end of April.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), however, placed the remaining 26 other provinces under alert level 2, citing the recommendation made by a data analytics technical working group.


In its latest bimonthly resolution on alert level classification, the IATF listed the 26 provinces as the following:

  • Benguet
  • Ifugao
  • Quezon
  • Palawan
  • Camarines Norte
  • Masbate
  • Antique
  • Negros Occidental
  • Bohol
  • Cebu
  • Negros Oriental
  • Leyte
  • Western Samar
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Davao de Oro
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao del Sur
  • Davao Occidental
  • North Cotabato
  • Sarangani
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Basilan
  • Maguindanao
  • Sulu
  • Tawi-Tawi

While these provinces may be under alert level 2, the task force said the cities and municipalities in these areas may be placed under different alert categories.

The IATF resolution dated April 14 was released only on April 22 by the Department of Health (DOH), which chairs the task force, after a media inquiry.

Daily average cases

In November 2021, the government adopted the alert level system on COVID-19 response-related restrictions for local government units (LGUs), replacing the community quarantine classifications that it imposed when the country went into lockdown in March 2020.

Alert level 1 is the lowest and has the least number of restrictions while alert level 5 is the highest and has the most restrictions.

In its weekly bulletin on April 17, the DOH reported a 23-percent increase in the country’s daily average number of COVID-19 cases as infections rose to 341 from April 10 to 16, compared to 278 cases from the week before.

Metro Manila and 13 provinces also saw their positivity rate exceed the 5-percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organization to indicate that transmission of the virus was under control.


But while confirmed cases continued to climb, the occupancy of reserved COVID-19 hospital beds remained at low risk or below 20 percent.

Masks required in trains

As a precaution amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases, a transportation official said the wearing of masks would remain mandatory in all trains of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) and Philippine National Railways (PNR).

In a statement on Sunday, Assistant Transportation Secretary Jorjette Aquino said the mask mandate would also be strictly enforced inside all stations of LRT 1, 2, and MRT 3, but optional for those operated by PNR since these were in open-air spaces.

“Our medical professionals in the railways sector stressed that the risk of COVID-19 transmission remains present in our trains as they are enclosed spaces,” Aquino said.

“Security personnel deployed in all of our stations and trains will help ensure that the policy is strictly enforced,” she added, as she urged riders to protect their fellow passengers by wearing masks.

“Even if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can still become infected and potentially spread the virus to others,” Aquino said.

She advised commuters to avail themselves of second booster shots, citing the DOH’s recently issued guidelines on their administration to the general population.

“As explained by medical professionals, these booster shots are designed to help maintain the level of protection against the virus, especially as new variants emerge,” she said.

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In October 2022, Malacañang relaxed the face mask policy by making its usage voluntary in indoor and outdoor spaces, except in select areas.


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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Health, Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases

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