Government braces for new normal, defends Alert 2

Helen Flores – The Filipina Star

February 16, 2022 | 00:00

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday defended the government’s decision to maintain Alert Level 2 in the National Capital Region (NCR) until the end of the month, as it ensures the country is ready to move to a “new normal”.

Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesman Karlo Nograles and Undersecretary of Health Maria Rosario Vergeire said the government was preparing to move to Alert Level 1 or the “new normal”.

“What we are just doing right now… we are already preparing for the transition. If we use our measures of case trends and health care utilization, NCR is really low risk. But of course we have to prepare the environment where when we ease the restrictions our people can get out safely,” Vergeire said.

She said all establishments, public and private, must put in place safety measures like adequate ventilation to prevent transmission of the virus once restrictions on venue capacity are lifted below Alert Level 1.

“That (downgrade to Alert Level 1) is in our hands, so it’s important that those conditions are met so that we can get to what’s called Alert Level 1 if that’s what you vaguely want. call it the new normal,” Nograles said.

Most parts of the country are under alert level 2, except for the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental and South Cotabato and the cities of Zamboanga and Iloilo, which are under alert level 2. alert 3 stricter.

appeal

During his speech to the people on Monday night, President Duterte again called on Filipinos to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as he wants to see almost all Filipinos get stinged before leaving office.

“I implore you, on behalf of the government, to finally end COVID. And the only way to do that is for most or not all Filipinos to be vaccinated. If there’s anything that would make me happy when I walk out of this office, it’s knowing that almost everyone gets vaccinated,” the president said.

Duterte also praised and thanked Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for leading the country’s response to COVID-19. “And if there’s anyone I’d like to publicly thank — it’s never too late to say thank you to Secretary Duque, who led the fight against COVID,” he said.

“The tireless work of Secretary (Carlito) Galvez (Jr.) and Secretary (Interior) (Eduardo) Año, thank you all; and of course, with advice from DND (Department of Defense), Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana, many others, including (Secretary) Vince Dizon,” he said.

Granular locks

Meanwhile, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Año said that from 605 last week, areas under granular lockdown have fallen to just 319 nationwide, covering 153 barangays in 22 cities.

The Cordillera Administrative Region has the highest number of areas under lockdown with 176, followed by Region 1 (97), NCR (22), Cagayan Valley (16), Region 2 (19) , Mimaropa (four) and the Zamboanga Peninsula (one).

In total, the confined areas affected some 355 households or 499 individuals.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Dionardo Carlos said yesterday that he supports the government’s decision to extend Alert Level 2 in Metro Manila until the end of the month.

From 28th place, the Philippines has fallen to 39th among the nations with the most new infections, as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to decline.

Based on the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) COVID-19 dashboard, the Philippines had 617,857 new cases counted as of February 9. On February 15, the country recorded 413,884 documented cases in the past 28 days. Overall, the country has recorded 3,639,942 COVID cases.

According to the Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 case bulletin, the country recorded 2,730 cases on February 14, its lowest one-day tally since December 21. Since February 1, the country’s daily tally has been below 10,000.

Based on JHU data, the countries with the most COVID cases in the past 28 days were the United States (11,809,572), followed by France (7,568,233), India (5 285,281), Brazil (4,477,776), Germany (4,432,965), Italy (3,398,760), Russia (3,302,541), United Kingdom (3,116,390), Spain (2,511,164) and Turkey (2,451,157).

Among ASEAN member countries, Indonesia led with 536,129 new cases, followed by Vietnam (487,314), Philippines, Thailand (276,813), Malaysia (231,888), Singapore (177,646), Laos (14,297), Myanmar (13,627), Brunei (6,718) and Cambodia (2,647). – Sheila Crisostomo, Emmanuel Tupas, Romina Cabrera


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