COVID-19 alert system for metro OK’d

The Philippine capital and nearby cities will only have two lockdown levels with several alert levels in a policy shift that seeks to shield the economy from a coronavirus pandemic, according to the presidential palace. 

An inter-agency task force has provisionally approved the rules on the pilot enforcement of an alert level system for the capital region from Sept. 16 to 30, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing on Friday. 

Metro Manila will either be under an enhanced community quarantine or general community quarantine. Restrictions in areas under a general lockdown would depend on the alert level imposed on specific areas within it, he said. 

Areas in the capital will be placed under alert levels 1 to 4, with 4 being the strictest and under which dining, personal care services and mass gatherings will be barred. 

The government was still finalizing the list of specific establishments under the categories and the allowed activities per alert level. 

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III said houses and streets with clustered coronavirus infections might be placed under a “stronger granular lockdown.” 

Only health workers, inbound and outbound overseas Filipino workers and people in “highly extraordinary circumstance” like those needing urgent medical care will be allowed to go in and out of an area under a granular lockdown. 

Mr. Roque said families affected by granular lockdowns would receive aid such as food from local governments and the Social Welfare department. 

DoH reported 17,964 coronavirus infections on Friday, bringing the total to 2.18 million. 

The death toll rose to 34,899 after 168 more patients died, while recoveries increased by 9,067 to 1.97 million, it said in a bulletin. 

There were 175,470 active cases, 87.8% of which were mild, 7.8% did not show symptoms, 1.3% were severe, 2.48% were moderate and 0.6% were critical. 

DoH said 86 duplicates had been removed from the tally, 74 of which were tagged as recoveries and two as deaths, while 79 recoveries were reclassified as deaths. Four laboratories failed to submit data on Sept. 8. 

Meanwhile, 502,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine made by AstraZeneca Plc arrived on Friday. Mr. Roque said 37.7 million vaccine doses have been given out — Bianca Angelica D. Añago 

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