(PNA file photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – The two-week positive growth rate from the alert level system has been scrapped in determining the country’s alert level system.

In a televised public briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the two-week growth rate "is no longer sensitive to the logging of cases and reflection of the complete picture of the country" despite the increase in the number of infections in the past two weeks.

"So, we removed the two-week growth rate, what we have right now is to measure the average daily attack rate which is a measure of new cases in an area plus healthcare utilization," she said. "We cross tabulated this where we gave more weight to hospitalization, the healthcare utilization".

There will be no escalation of alert level even though cases reach "high risk" based on the average daily attack rate, as long as hospitals are only 50 percent occupied, she added.

The alert levels system is applied on a regional level.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), some areas are being monitored because their hospital admissions -- both for intensive care unit beds and Covid-19 beds -- are increasing.

When asked if some NCR areas will be downgraded to "low risk" classification, Vergeire confirmed that "moderate risk" areas with an average daily attack rate of less than six and healthcare utilization of less than 50 percent would undergo the downgrade.

The change in the alert level system metrics coincides with the update made on the Covid-19 case bulletin which aims to shift the mindset of Filipinos -- from focusing on the case numbers to understanding the importance of vaccination coverage, the number of severe and critical cases, and the number of hospital admissions, she said.

As infections continue to rise across regions due to a 21 percent decrease in the compliance with minimum public health standards (MPHS), the DOH has urged the Department of Interior and Local Government to strengthen the implementation of the health protocols and monitoring of the people's compliance to them.

"We have reached a point, not just here in the Philippines, but all over the world, people had burnout with this very long situation that we had with the pandemic but we need to remain vigilant. Kailangan susunod pa rin tayo dun sa ating (We still need to observe our) MPHS because it is the only way we are able to protect ourselves," Vergeire said. (PNA)