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NCR mayors agree to retain Alert Level 3

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The Metro Manila Council (MMC) has decided to retain the Alert Level 3 status for the National Capital Region (NCR), citing enough restrictions in place and only a slight increase in the region’s healthcare utilization rate (HCUR) despite the increasing number of Covid-19 infections, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

In a virtual presser on Monday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., said the MMC—composed of the 17 NCR mayors—have agreed to maintain the current restrictions in a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) last Friday.

“In the meantime, the mayors see no need to escalate to Alert Level 4,” Abalos said.

He took note of the current restrictions in place against the unvaccinated, which make up about 85 percent of those with severe and critical Covid-19 symptoms and 93 percent of deaths.

“This was made precisely to protect the unvaccinated. Nakita naman natin na karamihan ng apektado pagdating sa fatality and severity ay ang mga unvaccinated (We can see that most of those affected when it comes to fatality and severity are the unvaccinated),” Abalos said.

Citing data from the Department of Health (DOH), Abalos said most breakthrough infections or infections among the vaccinated present mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.

“Yung effect, hindi ganun kalaki. It's just karamihan asymptomatic, very mild. But look at the effect on those unvaccinated. Talagang grabe po (The effect, it’s not too big. Most are asymptomatic or are very mild. But look at the effect on those unvaccinated. It’s too much),” Abalos said.

On the other hand, he said the HCUR in NCR between January 8 and 9, 2022 only showed a “slight increase” and is still within the metrics for Alert Level 3.

Based on DOH data, 51 percent of beds at intensive care units were full on January 8 and rose to 52 percent of January 9, isolation beds decreased from 51 percent to 50 percent, ward beds increased from 62 percent to 65 percent, and the usage of ventilators decreased from 27 percent to 26 percent.

“We are consistently monitoring the region’s HCUR rate and we assure that the NCR mayors are ready in case the metrics show the need to escalate Metro Manila to alert level 4,” Abalos said.

In addition, he said the MMDA has monitored less traffic on the road and fewer people in malls.

He encouraged the public to continue regulating outdoor activities and to seek medical advice via telemedicine to avoid congestion in hospitals.

“We need the cooperation of all. Let us follow the guidelines set by the DOH and continue to observe minimum health protocols,” Abalos said.


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