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NCR under Alert Level 4 starting Sep 16

  • The National Capital Region will be under Alert Level 4 when pilot implementation of the new alert level system starts on September 16
  • NCR mayors agreed to have only one alert level for the entire region
  • Level 4, the second strictest level, covers areas where case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high levels
  • There will be five alert levels under the new alert level scheme

The National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under Alert Level 4 when pilot implementation of the new alert level system in Metro Manila starts on September 16, according to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

The new alert level system takes effect a day after the modified enhanced community quarantine status in Metro Manila ends on September 15.

READ: IATF issues guidelines for new Metro Manila alert level system

The NCR mayors agreed to implement just one alert level, Alert Level 4, Año said in an interview on GMA News’ Unang Balita, and will collaborate to lower it to Alert Level 3.

Based on data analytics, he noted five areas in Metro Manila may be considered under Alert Level 5, two areas under Alert Level 3, and most Alert Level 4.

According to recently released guidelines on pilot implementation of the new alert level system, Level 4–the second strictest level—covers areas where case counts are high and/or increasing, and where total bed and intensive care unit utilization rates are high.

Establishments and/or activities characterized as high risk for transmission will not be allowed to operate.

Persons not allowed outside of their respective residences include those below 18 years old and those over 65 years of age; those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks; and pregnant women. They will be allowed access to obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices.

Intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences may be allowed subject to regulations of the local government unit of destination.

The government earlier said the objective of the pilot implementation is to assess if “granular” or small-scale lockdowns could more effectively reduce transmissions than wide-scale community quarantines, now no longer effective.

Levels of alerts

Under the guidelines, there will be five alert levels under the new alert level system:

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

Areas under Alert Level 5 should observe guidelines applicable to ECQ.

For Level 3, certain establishments or activities will be allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 30% on-site or venue/seating capacity.

For Level 2, except those located in areas under granular lockdowns, certain establishments, persons, or activities will be allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at a maximum of 50% on-site or venue/seating capacity.

Certain business establishments in areas under Levels 3 and 2 that are awarded Safety Seal Certifications will be allowed to operate at an additional 10% beyond the prescribed on-site or venue/seating capacity, whichever is applicable.

For Level 1, all establishments, persons, or activities, except for those located in areas under granular lockdowns, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity but consistent with minimum public health standards.

Protocols for locked down zones

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

The Department of Health will identify alert levels of the pilot area. During the pilot implementation, classification of the pilot area will be done weekly.

Close contacts, regardless of the vaccination status and possession of a negative COVID-19 test result, of probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases will undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Minimum public health standards should be implemented at all times.

The authority to impose granular lockdowns is given to city and municipal mayors. Granular lockdowns may be imposed on residential buildings, streets, blocks, puroks, subdivisions, and/or villages for a period of not less than 14 days.

The list of Authorized Persons Outside Residences (APOR) under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended, will not apply in areas under granular lockdowns.

Only health care workers and non-health personnel working in hospitals, laboratories, and dialysis facilities whose institutions are unable to provide accommodation for their personnel, and uniformed personnel tasked to enforce the granular lockdown, will be allowed to move within, into, and out of the area under granular lockdown.

The following will also be allowed to enter and/or exit granular lockdown areas for specific purposes:

  • Overseas Filipino Workers bound for international travel and those returning to their respective residences after having completed facility-based quarantine uponarrival
  • Individuals whose home or residence is located within an area under granular lockdown may enter the said area solely to return to their respective homes or residences but must remain there for the duration of the granular lockdown
  • Individuals under exceptional circumstances such as, but not limited to, those seeking urgent medical attention as validated by the municipal/city health officer
  • Food and essential items intended for delivery within an area under granular lockdown provided they are unloaded at border collection points designated by the LGU.

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