(File photo)

MANILA – Due to a surge in Covid-19 cases amid the holiday season, the Philippines’ Covid-19 task force is keeping the entire country under an Alert Level 2 status from Jan. 1 to 15, 2022.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Wednesday, December 29, 2021, approved the recommendation to maintain all provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities under Alert Level 2 from January 1, 2022 until January 15, 2022,” Acting Presidential Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, said in a press statement.

Nograles said the IATF likewise released an updated risk classification of countries, territories, and jurisdictions effective Jan. 1 to 15.

Destinations under the “red” list or those at high risk of Covid-19 infection are Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Spain.

Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, British Virgin Islands, China (Mainland), Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Fiji, The Gambia, Guinea, Hong Kong (Chinese Special Administrative Region), Indonesia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Montserrat, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), Saint Barthelemy, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Taiwan, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Togo, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates were placed on the “green” list or those at low risk of Covid-19 infection.

All other countries/territories /jurisdictions not mentioned above shall be under the “yellow” risk or those at moderate risk of Covid-19 infection.

Upon the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the IATF also approved the acceptance/recognition for purposes of arrival quarantine protocols as well as for interzonal/intrazonal movement the national Covid-19 vaccination certificate of Armenia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Kuwait, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States of America, and Oman.

This is in addition to such other countries/territories/jurisdictions whose proofs of vaccination the IATF already approved for recognition in the Philippines, and without prejudice to such other proofs of vaccination approved by the IATF for all inbound travelers.

The Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Transportation – One Stop Shop and the Bureau of Immigration are directed to recognize only the proofs of vaccination thus approved by the IATF.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 889 new Covid-19 infections, pushing the nationwide tally to over 2.8 million.

This figure is the highest number of daily cases the country has recorded since Nov. 27.

Recoveries reached more than 2.7 million after 214 got better while deaths rose to 51,241 with 28 succumbing to respiratory disease.

The positivity rate also jumped to 4.5 percent, which is also the highest since Nov. 13.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said it is still unclear if the surge is only due to holiday activities or the Omicron variant. (PNA)