Alert Level 2 Possibility in Metro Manila: What’s Allowed and What’s Not

Placing the National Capital Region (NCR) under Alert Level 2 remains a possibility if COVID-19 cases will continue to increase, as per Manila Times. On Sunday, June 12, 2022, the Department of Health (DOH) logged 308 new cases—the highest daily count in almost two months. According to ABS-CBN News, 153 of these fresh infections are from Metro Manila.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the possibility for Alert Level 2 would always be there as long as there’s growth in COVID-19 cases. The fact that Filipinos are “learning to live with the virus” also increases the likelihood of returning to Alert Level 2. 

No Increase Yet in Hospital Admissions 

Vergeire clarified that mild and asymptomatic infections are acceptable to the population. What they’re closely monitoring are the critical cases and hospital admissions. She said there’s no spike yet in severe and critical cases and no problems in medical facilities.

Looking at the growth rate of COVID-19 infections, 13 out of 17 cities in Metro Manila have seen a two-week increase in cases. Meanwhile, the average daily attack rate and the number of cases in each area haven’t negatively impacted hospital admissions.

It has been announced that Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 1 until June 15, 2022. 

COVID-19 Situation Outside NCR 

The Philippines recorded 1,295 new COVID-19 cases, or a daily average of 185, from May 30 to June 5. DOH also announced earlier the detection of more transmissible Omicron subvariants (BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5). Two cases of the BA.5 subvariant were detected in CALABARZON; one patient is unvaccinated. 

Meanwhile, in Cebu province, which is currently under Alert Level 2, an executive order was issued regarding the optional use of face masks in outdoor spaces. Despite this order, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it would continue enforcing the mandatory wearing of face masks in the area. 

According to Rappler, DOH also urged the public to keep the masks on, considering the slight increase in new cases. 

Alert Level 2 Refresher 

In late 2021, parts of the Philippines were placed under Alert Level 2. Here’s a quick review of what’s allowed and what isn’t under the stricter alert level system, according to DOH’s guidelines

Allowed:

  • Intrazonal and interzonal movement. Local Government Units (LGUs) to impose reasonable restrictions that are not stricter than those in higher alert levels. 
  • The following establishments and activities to operate and be undertaken at a 50% indoor venue capacity for fully-vaccinated individuals: 
    • Venues for meetings, conferences, and exhibitions 
    • Venues for social events, such as birthday parties, wedding parties, and family reunions 
    • Tourist attractions, theme parks, and recreational venues 
    • Cinemas and movie houses 
    • Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for basic, higher, and technical-vocational education
    • In-person religious gatherings, including wakes and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19
    • Governmental licensure or entrance examinations
    • Dine-in services 
    • Personal care establishments, such as hair salons, barbershops, and spas — subject to the protocols of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
    • Fitness studios, gyms, and other venues for individual, non-contact exercises and sports 
    • Film, music, and television production — subject to the joint guidelines of DTI, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and DOH
    • Contact sports approved by LGUs
    • Funfairs/peryas or amusement areas for kids
    • Venues with live-voice performers or audiences, such as karaoke bars, clubs, and concert halls 
    • Gatherings in residences with individuals who are not part of the household 
  • 80% on-site workforce for agencies and instrumentalities of the government. Alternative work arrangements may be approved by the head of the agency. 

Not Allowed: 

  • Casinos, cockfighting, horse racing, and operation of betting shops and other gaming establishments 

Alert Level 2 can be imposed in areas with low and declining COVID-19 cases but escalating numbers of hospital admissions. Generally, movement for all ages is allowed, subject to LGU rules. 

Sources: Manila Times, ABS-CBN News, Rappler, DOH

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