MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) continues to perform its duties amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang said Thursday.

Ang masasabi lang po natin ay tuloy-tuloy naman po ang trabaho ng IATF. Hindi naman po sila naantala kahit po bago na ang administrasyon. So tinutuloy pa rin po ang IATF (What we can say if the IATF continues to do its job. It was not disrupted when the new administration took over. So IATF continues to fulfill its mandate),” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a press conference.

Cruz-Angeles issued the statement, when asked if the IATF-EID is set to announce the new Covid-19 alert levels for the second half of July.

She said she is not privy as to when the IATF-EID members would meet to discuss the implementation of new alert level classifications in the country from July 16 to 31.

Pressed if the new alert levels would be announced before July 15, Cruz-Angeles said: Titignan po natin. Medyo speculative kasi maaari naman po tayong gumawa ng extension for necessary agencies kung saka-sakali (Let’s see. It’s somehow speculative because necessary agencies could make an extension, if need be). So, we'll see.”

A total of 85 of 121 provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs), and independent component cities (ICCs), as well as 166 of 744 other component cities and municipalities, have been placed under the most lenient Alert Level 1 from July 1 to 15.

Metro Manila is one of the areas placed under Alert Level 1 for the first half of July.

The intensified campaign to encourage more Filipinos to receive Covid-19 booster shots is among the priorities of the Marcos administration.

In a virtual speech delivered before newly elected mayors and governors on Friday, Marcos raised the possibility of further lowering the Covid-19 alert level status and ordering the “optional” wearing of face mask, if the booster vaccination drive becomes successful.

Marcos said he may further ease the Covid-19 protocols, in case he sees an indication that it is already “safe” to take such step.

He also asked the local government units to support the Covid-19 booster vaccination campaign to ensure the safe reopening of the economy and in-person classes.

Around 71 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against the Covid-19, the Department of Health (DOH) announced Tuesday.

Of the 71 million, almost 15.3 million fully vaccinated individuals have received their first booster, as of July 1, the DOH added. (PNA)