NCR mayors ready for new alert system
Local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila are all set for the pilot implementation of the new alert level system on COVID-19 starting Thursday, September 16, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.
Metro Manila Council Chairman and Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez told a Laging Handa briefing on Wednesday that the Metro LGUs “are ready.”
Olivarez said despite the mere two days given to them to prepare for the pilot implementation, most of the Metro Manila mayors have already been declaring granular lockdowns.
“The guidelines given to us are almost the same as the previous quarantine protocols,” he said.
He added that the focus under the new alert system would be on the three Cs — closed spaces, crowded areas, and close contact.
Olivarez said the new system will also allow for the opening up of the economy.
He said the suggestions of Metro mayors for them to be given the authority to declare granular lockdown was granted by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Metro Manila will be placed under Alert level 4 from Sept. 16-30.
Under Alert Level 4, the following protocols shall be observed:
- Persons below 18 years old and over 65 years of age and with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities or other health risks, and pregnant women shall not be allowed outside;
- Intrazonal and interzonal travel may be allowed subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination;
- Individual outdoor exercises shall be allowed “but shall be limited within the general area of their residence”;
- Establishments and/or activities characterized as high-risk for transmission shall not be allowed to operate;
- Outdoor or alfresco dine-in services in restaurants and eateries shall be allowed at a maximum of 30 percent venue capacity while indoor dine-in services may be allowed at a limited 10 percent capacity “but will cater only to individuals fully vaccinated against Covid-19”;
- Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons shall be allowed at a maximum of 30 percent venue/seating capacity if such services are conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status. These establishments are allowed to operate at a limited 10 percent indoor;
- In-person religious gatherings shall be allowed at a maximum of 30 percent venue/seating capacity if conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status. These gatherings may be allowed indoors at a limited 10 percent seating capacity but may accommodate only individuals who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities;
- Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than Covid-19 shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members; and,
- Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall remain to be fully operational and shall adhere to at least 20 percent on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements.
Executive Order (EO) 112, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, implements enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in high-risk areas and general community quarantine (GCQ) in the rest of the country.
Under the new guidelines, the new community quarantine classifications will have five alert levels that would determine the activities allowed in cities and/or municipalities.
- Alert Level 1 – refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate is low.
- Alert Level 2 – refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing.
- Alert Level 3 – refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization.
- Alert Level 4 – refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate are high.
- Alert Level 5 – refers to areas wherein case counts are alarming, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at critical level.
“Areas placed under Alert Level 5 shall observe the guidelines applicable to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) as provided for under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended,” the new guidelines stated.
On Sept. 3, the IATF issued a resolution which provides that under the new classification framework, which focuses on the imposition of granular lockdown measures, community quarantine shall be reduced to either ECQ or general community quarantine (GCQ) “with the latter having an alert level system (Alert Level 1 to 4) with each alert level limiting restrictions only to identified high-risk activities.”
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