(PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is set to meet and discuss the possible de-escalation of Metro Manila from Alert Level 3 to the less strict Alert Level 2 following the downward trend in reported coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the task force would study this and announce its decision before the month ends.

"Dahil sa gumagandang datos sa National Capital Region, tatalakayin sa IATF kung handa na bang ma-deescalate ang Metro Manila sa Alert Level 2. Pag-aaralan pa ito ng IATF at asahan ninyong mailalabas ang desisyon bago matapos ang Enero (Because of the improving figures in NCR, we will discuss at IATF if Metro Manila is ready to de-escalate to Alert Level 2. We will study this and rest assured that a decision will come out before January ends)," he said in a Palace briefing.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said the spike in coronavirus cases in Metro Manila may have reached its peak as the number of new cases from the region continues to decrease.

READ: Covid-19 cases in NCR have peaked: DOH chief

As of January 24, some 262,997 people are currently recuperating from Covid-19, of whom a total of 72,382 are in Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, at least 47 percent of the 1,300 intensive care unit beds for Covid-19 cases in the region is occupied, including 46 percent of its 4,500 isolation beds and 50 percent of 4,500 ward beds.

Duque said the health care utilization rate must be maintained at low-risk classification or less than 50 percent total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate.

The national government is also monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the Visayas and Mindanao where cases are trending upward.

"Habang kumukonti ang new infections sa Metro Manila, tumataas naman ang mga bagong kaso sa labas ng NCR. Bagama’t bumababa ang mga kaso sa Metro Manila, nais nating balaan ang buong bansa -- hindi ito nangangahulugan na malapit nang matapos ang banta ng Covid-19 Omicron o ano pa mang variant sa Pilipinas (While the number of infections in Metro Manila decreases, new cases outside the region increases. The cases are decreasing in Metro Manila but we want to warn the whole country that this does not mean a nearing end to the threat of Covid-19 Omicron or other variants)," Nograles said.

The official urged local government units to strengthen their respective vaccination campaign and convince their constituents to get vaccinated, noting that vaccine coverage in a number of areas outside the NCR remains low. (PNA)