Too early to downgrade NCR alert level — expert

Published October 13, 2021, 12:11 PM

by Gabriela Baron

An infectious disease expert on Wednesday, Oct. 15, said it’s still too early to downgrade the current alert level status of the National Capital Region (NCR).


Metro Manila is placed under Alert Level 4 until Oct. 15.

Earlier, Malacanang said NCR has a “good chance” of being downgraded to Alert Level 3 following reports that the reproduction rate of the virus in Metro Manila fell to 0.6 percent, while the positivity rate is at 13 percent.

In an interview with DZBB, Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of the Adult Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Department of the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, said it’s important to give break to health workers first who got sick during the recent surge.

“Masyado pang maaga ang pagbaba ng alert level at this point in time. This is also my personal observation na yung healthcare utilization natin, although bumaba rin naman yung mga kaso, we have to take into consideration yung kalagayan ng healthcare workers (It’s too early to lower the alert level at this point in time. This is also my personal observation that our healthcare utilization, although the number of cases has decreased, we have to take into consideration the condition of healthcare workers),” Solante continued.

“Maraming hospitals ngayon na yung health workers nag-leave or nagkakasakit that’s why even if you say na mataas-taas ang healthcare capacity ngayon, tingnan din kung meron bang tama o sapat na mga tao na mag-aalaga dun sa mga pasyente (There are many health workers who are currently on leave or getting sick that’s why even if we say that the healthcare capacity is very high now, we also have to consider if there are enough health workers to take care of patients),” he added.

Solante noted that the downtrend of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is “not that significant yet.”

“We’re not against the downgrading of the alert level. Yung downtrend ngayon hindi pa ganun ka-significant to say na talagang magluwag na tayo (The current downtrend is not that significant to say we can now relax),” he added.

The infectious disease expert favors the extension of Alert Level 4 until the end of October.

Tingnan natin in the next two weeks kung patuloy ay pagbaba ng kaso and hopefully kung patuloy ang pagbaba ng kaso then we can say na mukhang pwede na nating mas luwag-luwagan na ang alert level (Let’s see in the next two weeks if cases continue to drop and hopefully if the cases continue to drop, then we can say that it looks like we can relax the alert level).”