Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

The national government’s Covid-19 task force is still finalizing the parameters to possibly deescalate Metro Manila to lowest Alert Level 1, Malacañang said on Monday.

Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles made this remark after independent analytics group OCTA research said key pandemic indicators show that Metro Manila is ready for Alert Level 1 as long as the downward trend in Covid-19 cases is sustained.

“At present, the IATF is still finalizing the parameters to deescalate or declare localities under Alert Level 1. We have not finalized the parameters yet so let’s just wait for further developments,” he said in a Palace press briefing in Filipino.

Nograles emphasized the need to be vigilant amid the threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“We’re also monitoring the developments with regard to Omicron and all these other developments worldwide so I cannot really put a date when we will finalize the parameters. It’s an ongoing process pa,” he added partly in Filipino.

Metro Manila is currently under Alert Level 2 until the end of November.

Four-Door Policy

Meanwhile, Nograles assured that the national government is prepared for the worst case scenario should there be another uptick in Covid-19 cases.

“We have activated our Four-Door Policy to prevent the Omicron variant from entering the country,” he said in Filipino. “We have to prepare for the worst case scenario.”

The Four-Door Policy includes border control, active surveillance including test and trace, early isolation and treatment of all those who tested positive, and Covid-19 vaccination program.

On Sunday, the IATF imposed travel restrictions on seven more countries as it updated its red list or destinations under “high risk” of Covid-19.

In addition to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, the government included Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy in the red list effective until December 15.

On Friday, the World Health Organization declared the Omicron variant of Covid-19 to be “of concern”.

It was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24 and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel.

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