'Slow but careful' approach impels IATF to maintain alert level 3 in NCR — Roque

Published October 29, 2021, 2:25 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is taking the “slow but careful” approach in downgrading the alert level in the National Capital Region (NCR) under the Alert Level System (ALS).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo from Harry Roque’s Facebook page)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque gave this explanation Friday, Oct. 29 after revealing that the capital region will retain its alert level 3 status for Nov. 1 to 14.

“Sabihin na lang po natin na inuunti-unti po natin yung pagbaba ng ALS nang sa ganun ay hindi naman biglang sumipa muli ang numero ng mga kaso ng COVID [coronavirus disease] (Let’s just say that we’re lowering the ALS slowly in order to prevent another spike in the cases of COVID),” Roque said in a virtual press conference.

The Palace official was quizzed about the reason for maintaining alert level 3 in Metro Manila despite high expectations from the business sector that it would be lowered to alert level 2, especially with Christmas fast approaching.

Roque, who also serves as IATF spokesperson, said the decision was made in light of the increase in mobility among metropolis dwellers.

“Bagama’t talaga namang lahat ng datos po ay nagpapakita na bumababa ang attack rate, bumababa ang hospital care utilization rate, syempre po habang nagtataas tayo ng unang-una, transportasyon, up to 70 percent of capacity–tataas po ang mobility (Although the data have shown lowered attack rate and hospital care utilization rate, of course there will be an increase in mobility with transportation capacity now at 70 percent),” he said.

“So inaasahan po natin that with increased mobility eh posible rin po na tumaas ang mga kaso ng COVID (So we expect that with the increased mobility, it’s also possible for cases of COVID to increase),” Roque noted.

From the previous 50 percent, the operational capacity of public transportation has been raised to 70 percent.

“Ito naman po ay for the next two weeks. Kung hindi naman po tumaas ang kaso despite the increase in mobility, dahil nga po bakunado na ang mahigit sa 85 percent sa Metro Manila, ay ibababa naman po natin yan sa alert level 2 (This is only for the next two weeks. If the cases don’t go up despite the increase in mobility, as Metro Manila’s vaccination rate is already at 85 percent, then we will lower it to alert level 2),” the Palace official assured the public.

“So antayin na lang po natin itong two weeks na ito. Panigurado lang po ito para dahan-dahan yung ating pagbubukas (So let’s just wait after these two weeks are over. This is just to ensure a careful reopening),” he said.

From over 22,000 cases in late August, the Philippines is now logging in 4,000 to 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day.