PH under Alert Level 1? Duque says its inevitable should COVID-19 cases continue to dip

Published February 7, 2022, 2:28 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Nothing will prevent the country from de-escalating to the lowest alert level status if coronavirus disease (COVID-19) would continuously decrease, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Monday, Feb. 7.

A police officer checks the vaccination cards of passengers at a jeepney stop in Divisoria, Manila on Jan. 14, 2022 in line with the implementation of the Department of Transportation’s “No Vaccination, No Ride” policy in the capital region while under the more stringent Alert Level 3. (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Kapag itong mga kaso ay patuloy na bumababa pa at umabot sa threshold na angkop sa Alert Level 1 (If COVID-19 cases continue to decline and reach the threshold appropriate for Alert Level) then we will do that, nothing will prevent us from de-escalating to Alert Level 1 but the sooner the better,” Duque said.

He explained that the country’s response to the pandemic is guided by the alert leveling system approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Duque said that the country currently has a low-risk negative 40 two-week growth rate and a moderate-risk average daily attack rate while the health system’s capacity based on two sub metrics which are the total bed utilization and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed utilization, the country is at low risk.

He added that this is the reason for their aggressive push for the inclusion of the pediatric age group in the country’s vaccination program. Duque stated that about 15.5 million belong to the five to 11 age group while those 12 to 17 account for about 12 million.

He mentioned that the first milestone of completely vaccinating 54 million Filipinos has been surpassed while the second milestone is to completely inoculate 77 million Filipinos by the end of the second quarter or the early third quarter.

More than 60 million Filipinos have been completely jabbed against COVID-19, according to Duque.