Typhoon-like 'alert level' status will be used in granular lockdown — MMDA chief

Published September 6, 2021, 11:03 AM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The implementation of the granular lockdown in ​the National Capital Region (NCR) will be treated as if there is a “typhoon,” that is, an “alert level” status will be issued to determine policies to be imposed.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos said Monday, Sep. 9, there will be four “alert level” status to be used in Metro Manila, depending on the threat of the COVID-19 in a certain area.

He said the Alert Level 4 is the strictest of all, wherein businesses from three identified sectors, are prohibited from operating, while the Alert Level 1 is the least stringent.

The three sectors are the ones usually hardly hit during lockdowns. They are the “close-contact” sector or those leisure establishments such as salon and spa; the “crowded” sector or churches and other events place; and the “closed area” sector or the restaurants.

“Yung Alert Level 2 and 3 ang importante (Alert Level 2 and 3 are the important),” he said in a DZBB interview. “Yung Alert Level 2, hanggang 50 percent pwede sila (affected business establishments) magbukas, depende sa mayor. Yung Alert Level 3, hanggang 30 percent sila (Under Alert Level 2, establishments are allowed to operate up to 50 percent of their capacity, while under Alert Level 3, only 30 percent),” Abalos said.

“Ang ginawa po ng TWG (technical working group)…gumawa sila ng parang mga alert level dahil tuwing may lockdown, tatlo ang apektadong sector… So ginawa po ito para maaddress itong sector na ito. Parang bagyo yan (The TWG did an alert level status because during lockdowns, three sectors are affected. So the alert levels are done to address the problems of these sectors. This will be like a typhoon),” he added.

Abalos also said that the Department of Health (DOH) will determine the alert level of a certain city or area based on various factors, such as the level of infection, the daily attack rate, the hospitalization rate, among others.

However, he added, it will still fall on the mayors’ decision what kind of policy to be implemented in their area of responsibility.

“Pero ‘yan ay finafine tune pa. May mga question pa kami dyan (We will still fine tune it. We still have questions about that),” he clarified.

The current quarantine status in NCR, which is modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), is set to lapse on Sep. 7. According to Abalos, granular lockdowns will replace community quarantine in the future.

He said, granular lockdowns will be “more simple” and “easier to understand.”

“We now have a very complicated problem. So our policies should also become flexible,” he added.