Nationwide implementation of quarantine Alert Level System eyed by October

Published September 19, 2021, 12:50 PM

by Chito Chavez

The Alert Level System, which is now being implemented in Metro Manila as the pilot area, may be implemented nationwide by Oct. 1, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said.

Año said the decision now lies with President Duterte. Should that happen, he said local government units must adapt to it to include alignment of their ordinances.

“Anyway pilot testing pa naman tayo (in Metro Manila) till end of September,’’ Año noted in a text message.

Earlier, Año ordered the Metro Manila local government units (LGUs) and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to strictly enforce the minimum public health standards (MPHS) with the start of the implementation of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) Alert Level 4 System in the region.

Under the new guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the new quarantine classifications imposed in Metro Manila from Sept. 16 to 30 will have five Alert Levels that would allow most activities except those classified as closed, crowded and close contact (3Cs).

Año noted that the LGUs and the NCRPO “should reactivate their task force disiplina, barangay disiplina brigades, force multipliers and police marshalls to stop activities that are part of the 3Cs.’’

“While we have allowed many activities to happen under the new Alert Level System, social events like parties, wedding receptions, debuts, birthday and other parties, family reunions, parades, motorcades and gathering at private residences with any person outside of one’s immediate household are not allowed under Alert Level 4,” he added.

Año also urged all barangay captains and chiefs of police to strictly monitor all activities within their areas of jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the new guidelines saying that “those who will not proactively implement the new regulations will be sanctioned for dereliction of duty.’’

The rest of the country will still continue under the old community quarantine classifications.

He emphasized that the alert scheme is being implemented in other countries where health professionals observed that the Alert Level system is working provided that it is done in tandem with COVID-19 vaccination.

In Alert Level 4, outdoor or alfresco dine-in services in restaurants and eateries, outdoor personal care services and outdoor religious services are allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity while indoor services may be allowed at 10 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be limited to immediate family members.

Government offices will operate on a 20 percent on-site capacity with the implementation of work-from-home and other flexible work arrangement schemes.

Under IATF guidelines, the Alert Level System in the pilot areas will be determined weekly by the Department of Health (DOH) with the help of the Sub-Technical Working Group on Analytical Data.

Año said that along with the Alert Level System, granular lockdowns will also be implemented for areas identified as “critical zones” by the LGUs which may be declared regardless of Alert Level.

He added that the authority to impose granular lockdown shall be given to city and municipal mayors with respect to their component barangays subject to the concurrence of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF).

Año added that granular lockdowns may be imposed on individual houses where one household member has been confirmed, residential buildings, streets, blocks, puroks, subdivisions, and/or villages.

He reiterated his call for the public to get vaccinated if given the opportunity to avoid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.