There is no decision yet on whether or not the Alert Level 4 restrictions would be downgraded in Metro Manila, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said on Monday night, Sept. 27.
In an interview over ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, Malaya disclosed that the Department of Health (DOH) during their meeting on Sept. 27 noted that the one week alert level system implementation in the National Capital Region (NCR) is too short “to make a definitive assessment of the situation.’’
Based on the DOH’s explanation, Malaya stated that the entire NCR remains at high risk even if some of its areas are under moderate risks, prompting the Health Department to request for additional time to decide on the matter.
He stressed that the DOH has the authority to decide on what alert level Metro Manila should be placed even if the NCR’s coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) reproduction rate is down to .94 from 1.16 and the positive rate now at 19 percent.
The DILG spokesperson admitted that the public expected the NCR alert level to be relaxed with the improved COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila.
When pressed to comment on the hundreds of NCR under granular lockdowns, Malaya explained that the government’s approach is leaned towards the concept that “the smaller the intervention, the smaller the place to be locked down the better.’’
Malaya cited that 300 or 400 areas may be under granular lockdown but this does not mean that many people are infected by the virus since the restricted areas are scaled down.
However, Malaya said that the granular lockdowns can be widened to a larger area if individuals infected with the virus are found to be roaming around and transferring from one place to another.
From the start, Malaya revealed that the “zoning containment strategy’’ is scaled down per building, per floor or per unit, meaning that it is not automatic that the whole building will be locked down in case the COVID-19 positive persons are not roaming around and are staying in one particular area.
This scheme allows the COVID-19 negative persons to work and continue with their daily routines as long as they are not affected by the others positive for the virus.
Malaya reiterated that only the Alert Level System is pilot tested in Metro Manila as granular lockdowns are imposed in the whole country since last year.
He assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to provide assistance to the provinces where areas are placed under granular lockdowns saying that the DILG had requested funds from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for this purpose.