Duterte oks nationwide implementation of COVID alert levels

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  • President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order approving the nationwide adoption of the alert level system in four phases
  • Phase 1 is already being implemented, beginning in Metro Manila last September 16 and then gradually expanded to other regions since October
  • Phase 2 may begin any time after the effectivity of EO 151 but not later than the end of November 2021
  • Phases 3 and 4 will commence every week thereafter until full nationwide implementation

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the adoption in four phases of the COVID-19 alert level system (ALS) nationwide, with full implementation scheduled before the end of the year.

Under Executive Order (EO) No. 151 series of 2021, signed on November 11, the four phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1 – Metro Manila, Region III, Region IV-A, Region VI, Region VII, Region X, and Region XI
  • Phase 2 – Region I, Region VIII, Region XII
  • Phase 3 – Region II, V, Region IX
  • Phase 4 – Cordillera Administrative Region, Region IV-B, Region XIII (CARAGA), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao

Phase 1 is already being implemented, piloted in Metro Manila last September 16 and gradually being expanded to other regions starting October.

Phase 2 may begin anytime after the effectivity of EO 151 but not later than the end of November 2021. Phases 3 and 4 will commence every week thereafter until full nationwide implementation.

EO 151 states the nationwide shift to the ALS “would allow for the reinvigoration of the economy through the opening of more sectors, while protecting the people’s health through the continuous observance of public health protocols and interventions and the heightened implementation of lockdowns in smaller areas, also known as granular lockdowns.”

The ALS refers to the new community quarantine classifications for dealing with COVID-19, and covers entire cities, municipalities and/or regions with the aim to manage and minimize the risk of disease transmission through the use of system indicators, triggers, and thresholds determined by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Issued last November 4,the guidelines on the implementation of ALS in pilot areas will be adopted nationwide. Amendments to the guidelines may also be issued as necessary.

Pending full implementation of the ALS, community quarantines will remain in effect in areas not yet covered by the new system.

Under the guidelines, the ALS has five alert levels:

  • Alert Level 1 – areas where case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate is low
  • Alert Level 2 – where case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing
  • Alert Level 3 – where case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization
  • Alert Level 4 – where case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high utilization
  • Alert Level 5 – where case counts are alarming, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at critical utilization

Granular lockdown, meanwhile, refers to a micro-level quarantine for areas identified as “critical zones” by the LGU and may be declared regardless of alert level.

Areas under Alert Level 5 should observe the guidelines applicable to enhanced community quarantine.

For Alert Levels 2 to 4, intrazonal and interzonal travel will be allowed subject to reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination and should not be stricter than those prescribed under higher alert levels.

For Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal movement will be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities.

Certain establishments and/or activities characterized as high risk for transmission will not be allowed to operate, or be undertaken in areas classified under Alert Levels 4 and 3.

Also under Level 4, certain establishments and/or activities will be allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity.

For Alert Level 3, there are establishments and/or activities that will be allowed to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity.

For Alert Level 2, the establishments and/or activities that will be allowed to operate will rise to a maximum of 50% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18 years of age, even if unvaccinated, and 70% outdoor venue capacity.

For Alert Level 1, all establishments, persons, or activities are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided these are consistent with minimum public health standards; provided further, that face-to-face classes for basic education shall be subject to prior approval of the Office of the President.