TAAL ERUPTION. Ashes and smoke comes out of the crater of Taal Volcano which had a phreatic eruption on Sunday (January 12, 2020). Alert Level 4 is currently raised over the volcano which means  a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days. (Photo from Phivolcs Twitter account)

MANILA -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the status of Taal Volcano to Alert Level 4 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, only a few hours after it was placed under Alert Level 2 and Level 3. 

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum earlier said an escalation in the volcanic activity has been observed in the afternoon.

Alert Level 4 means a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.

It strongly recommended evacuation, especially in high-risk areas.

Health authorities, meanwhile, warned the public to take precautions, due to the health effects of exposure to volcanic ash and gases which are insidious and often overlooked hazards. The effects of volcanic gases on life may be direct, such as asphyxiation, respiratory diseases and skin burns.

During an ashfall, people must remain indoors, close all windows and doors, and cover nose and mouth as well as food and water containers to prevent exposure or contamination. (PNA)