Too early to place NCR under Alert Level 1, says DILG spox

The National Capital Region (NCR) should remain under Alert Level 2 as it will be too soon if the government will ease the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions to Alert Level 1.

DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya (DILG photo)

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya stresaed this Thursday, Nov. 11, as he believes that it will be "untimely" to loosen the pandemic regulations in Metro Manila despite the continuous decline of cases.

“Hindi pa po ako ganun ka-confident na (I am not that too confident) we can go to Alert Level 1. I think current restriction is okay, 50 percent for indoor establishment and 70 percent for outdoor,’’ Malaya said in an interview over ABS-CBN.

The DILG spokesperson added that NCR may be placed under the less restrictive Alert Level 1 if the vaccination rate in the provinces, specifically in adjacent areas, reach the desired level.

“I think that's one of the things that the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) has to consider if we go to Alert Level 1 (in Metro Manila),’’ he added.

A doctors’ group expressed doubts that Metro Manila should be abruptly placed under Alert Level 1, fearing that this could result to COVID-19 surge even if the health situation in the region has considerably improved.

Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) cited the possibility of further easing the restrictions in Metro Manila in the event that there is a further lowering of COVID-19 cases.

The DOH reportedly said that only 40 areas in NCR have currently been placed under granular lockdowns including 23 areas in Manila, 10 in Quezon City, and seven in Valenzuela City.

Reports disclosed that the occupancy rate in the critical care beds was at 38 percent, 28 percent in isolation beds, 26 percent in ward beds, and 24 percent in ventilator rooms.

“We gave our LGUs (local government units) a daily jab target so parang kung dati sila'y nagbabakuna ng isang libo lang gagawin nating dalawa hanggang tatlong libo (if they are previously inoculating only 1,000 individuals], we will make it 2,000 to 3,000),’’ Malaya said.

Malaya pointed out that the LGUs have already been warned that the DILG may impose sanctions against them if they fail to meet their respective vaccination targets.

The national government aims to achieve a daily vaccination output of 1.5 million doses this month.

“We will issue show cause order at pwede kayong makasuhan (and you can be charged) for negligence or dereliction of duty kasi tungkulin nilang makapagbakuna sa kanilang kababayan (since it is their duty to have their constituents vaccinated),’’ Malaya emphasized.