NCR shift to Alert Level 2 to spur broader economic reopening

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

November 3, 2021, 4:28 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Wednesday said the government's pandemic response task force should downgrade Metro Manila to Alert Level 2 amid the steady decline in new infections as this would result in the broader reopening of the economy.

"Downgrading Metro Manila’s lockdown restrictions to Alert Level 2 would mean that more businesses will resume operations and operate at increased capacity, thus allowing more Filipinos to regain their jobs and income," Velasco said in a statement.

He said the government’s aggressive vaccination campaign has given ample protection against a possible surge in Covid-19 cases, considering that around 80 percent of National Capital Region (NCR) residents have been fully vaccinated and 96 percent have received their first dose.

"Given these data, we can confidently reopen as many businesses as possible and get our economy back on track. Lowering the alert level in NCR as soon as possible could jumpstart the economy with increased consumer spending encouraging an increase in production and economic activity, thereby bringing about employment opportunities for our kababayans. We can see this happening as the holiday season draws near," he said.

He also urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to check the effectiveness or efficiency of each brand of Covid-19 vaccines to give notice to the public when they need to get a booster shot or another round of vaccine as a way to sustain and build on the current momentum of the government’s vaccination efforts.

He encouraged those who have yet to be inoculated to avail of the vaccines procured by the national government, noting that it is the "only way to ensure the safety of everyone as we slowly go back to our normal lives, to the way things were before the pandemic".

He reminded the public to continue abiding by the minimum health standards set by medical and science experts, such as wearing of face mask and maintaining physical distancing to stay safe during this health crisis.

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the alert level in Metro Manila may be eased in time for the holiday season should the drop in Covid-19 cases be sustained.

Citing the Department of Health (DOH), Roque said authorities will consider downgrading Metro Manila’s current Alert Level 3 status to Alert Level 2 depending on the region’s average daily attack rate (ADAR) and health care utilization.

“Well, nagsabi na po ang DOH – malaki po ang posibilidad na bumaba. Ang inaantay na lang natin iyong ADAR, dapat from 7.7 ay bumaba po to 7 percent (the DOH has spoken—there is a huge chance that it will be eased. We are just waiting for the ADAR to decrease from 7.7 to 7 percent),” he said in a Palace press briefing. (PNA)