DOH Sec. Duque says NCR ‘ripe’ for Alert Level 1, but IATF to make final determination

Other areas in the PHL to also be assessed if they can be de-escalated

Screenshot of Laging Handa press briefing on Thursday, February 24, 2022 (Courtest PCOO)


(Eagle News) – The Inter-Agency Task Force is set to decide whether to place Metro Manila under Alert Level 1 and will study current data if the National Capital Region, currently under Alert Level 2, is ripe for de-escalation.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the IATF is set to study on Thursday, February 24, the proposal of the Metro Manila Council which recommended that NCR be placed under Alert Level 1.

For Duque, he is agreeing with the Metro Manila Council that the capital region is “ripe” for Alert Level 1 given the current metrics.

More than 80 percent of senior citizens in NCR have been vaccinated, he said. Of the 1,222,154 A2 target population, those fully vaccinated have reaced 1.025 million, which means 83.9 percent coverage.

The IATF had earlier set as additional metrics that at least 80 percent of senior citizens be vaccinated in an Alert Level 2 area before it could be deescalated to Alert Level 1.

So sa kanilang pangkalahatan naman, iyong target population lampas na sila sa 80%. In fact, ang NCR 100% nga of its target population ano, fully vaccinated – ito ay 101.66% to be exact,” Duque said on Thursday, February 24.

“So iyan ang kanilang estado which means they are truly and genuinely ripe for de-escalation,” he said.
Metro Manila’s two-week growth rate is in the negative range, and the average daily attack rate is at moderate risk.

Kapag ibinangga mo iyong dalawa, ang katumbas is a low risk classification; samantalang ang kanilang health care utilization rate naman ay below 30% so mababa din, low risk,” Duque explained.

So sa dalawa lamang aspetong ito ay hinog na sila pero mayroon nga tayong idinagdag na itong 80% ng senior citizens dapat ay maabot nila para maging kuwalipikado for a de-escalation to Alert Level 1,” he noted.

Duque, however; clarified that his views would not necessarily be the same views of the whole IATF which would wait for the latest numbers regarding the Covid-19 in NCR.

-IATF to study latest data on NCR, other areas-

So tingin ko naman, mamaya aantayin lamang ng IATF ang pinakahuling ulat o datos patungkol dito para makapagpasya o makapagdesisyon na nang malinaw kung talagang puwede nang Alert Level 1,” he said.

So pag-uusapan iyan mamaya, ngunit kung ako lang ang tatanungin ano, hindi naman nangangahulugan na iyong sasabihin ko ay iyan din ang posisyon ng collective IATF,” Duque said.

The DOH chief said that aside from Metro Manila, other areas in the country would also be assessed if they have fulfilled the criteria for de-escalation, and if that is the case, these other areas — provinces, highly urbanized cities and independent component cities – would be ripe for Alert Level 1.

Under Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. All establishments, persons, or activities, are also allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards, according to the DOH.

In the last two days, the country’s new Covid cases have been increasing, while the number of new Covid recoveries has been declining. Aside from this, Covid deaths on Wednesday, February 23, and on Thursday, February 24, increased to around 200.


(Eagle News Service)