THE Department of Health (DOH) said it is not yet time for the whole country to de-escalate to Alert Level 1.
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III pointed out that several areas have yet to reach the metrics set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
Duque made the remark following the proposal of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on Monday to shift the entire country to Alert Level 1 and to open schools for face-to-face classes, “to increase domestic economy and offset global risk.”
“Hindi pa ngayon. Masyado pang… ayaw nating mawaldas natin ‘yung ating mga napagtagumpayan na. Kailangan magi-ingat tayo. Pasensiya na, kasi ako talaga ‘yung prinsipyo ko sa buhay ‘yung laging mas prudent at mas conservative,” he said.
The health chief, however, explained that easing the country to Alert Level 1 is still the goal, but all areas have to first meet the revised parameters for the de-escalation to the lowest level under the new alert level system.
“Ayun naman talaga ang ating layunin. Sa bandang huli ayaw na nating mag-widespread lockdowns kasi ang laking dagok nito sa ekonomiya natin. Nakita naman natin na sumadsad,” he added.
Former presidential spokesperson and IATF co-chair Karlo Nograles previously noted that areas will only be de-escalated to Alert Level 1 upon meeting all the criteria such: as low to minimal risk case classification; total bed utilization rate of less than 50%; full vaccination of 70% of its target population (denominator is 80% of its total population); and full vaccination of 80% of its Priority Group A2 (senior citizens) or target population (denominator is 85% of A2 population).
Currently, only the National Capital Region (NCR) and 38 more areas in different parts of the country are under Alert Level 1 from March 1 to March 15.
Under Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. All establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards.