Metro Manila to be under Alert Level 4 by September 16

Maris Federez   •   September 14, 2021   •   150

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced Tuesday that the National Capital Region will be placed under Alert Level 4 beginning September 16, the start of the implementation of the new alert levels system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

DILG  Secretary Eduardo Año said that Metro Manila mayors have agreed to implement the said alert level as a whole.

Based on the IATF issued guidelines, areas under Alert Level 4  are those with COVID-19 case counts that are high or increasing, and the total bed capacity and ICU beds are at a high utilization rate.

Those who are not allowed outside their residences under Alert Level 4 are:

  • persons below 18 years old,
  • those who are over 65 years of age,
  • those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks; and
  • pregnant women

The said individuals, however, will be allowed to go out to access or obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices.

Also, intrazonal and interzonal travel for persons not otherwise required to remain at their residences may be allowed subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination.

Individual outdoor exercises shall be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status but shall be limited within the general area of their residence, e.g. within the barangay, purok, subdivision, and/or village.

Outdoor or al fresco dine-in services in restaurants and eateries will operate at a maximum of 30%  venue/seating capacity regardless of vaccination status.

Indoor dine-in services may be allowed at a limited 10%  venue/seating capacity but will cater only to individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor or alfresco capacity. Their workers must also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons will be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity if such services are conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

These establishments are also allowed to operate at a limited 10% indoor venue/seating capacity but may only cater to individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities.

Government agencies will operate at least 20% capacity while applying work-from-home arrangements.

In-person religious gatherings shall be allowed at a maximum of 30% venue/seating capacity if conducted outdoors regardless of vaccination status.

These gatherings may be allowed at a limited 10% venue/seating capacity but may accommodate only individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to their allowed outdoor capacities.

Provided, that pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members, upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and with full compliance with the prescribed minimum public health standards.

Quezon City gov’t looking into possible causes of COVID-19 spread in 2 convents

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

The Quezon City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) is currently looking into the possible causes of COVID-19 outbreak in two convents in the city, the local government said Thursday.

In a statement, the city government said massive contact tracing efforts are underway to contain the further transmission of the virus.

A total of 114 individuals, including 64 nuns and 50 staff members, tested positive for COVID-19 at the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) in Cubao.

At the Convent of the Holy Spirit, 22 individuals were confirmed to have caught the virus, including 13 nuns and 9 staff members.

The city government said both facilities have been placed under lockdown.

CESU chief Dr. Rolando Cruz said they became aware of the situation after the cases were recorded in the surveillance data reported by a testing laboratory.

“Hindi po tayo ang nag-swab sa kanila. Nagpa-test po sila sa iba at nang lumabas na ang resulta sa laboratory, na-record ito sa surveillance data,” he said in the same statement.

“Now, our team is conducting an investigation and intensive contact tracing to get more details about the matter,” he added.

Cruz said part of the ongoing investigation is to determine if any of the positive individuals had any close contact with anyone outside of their facility.

Initial investigation revealed that a nun at the Convent of Holy Spirit passed away due to COVID-19 in early September. A physical therapist in the facility was reportedly exposed to the patient.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte earlier ordered the CESU to conduct active surveillance of closed settings in the city such as nursing homes and convents after 122 people, including 99 children, in an orphanage tested positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 reproduction rate in NCR slows down to 1.28 – OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The reproduction number of coronavirus disease in the National Capital Region (NCR) has improved in the past few days, the OCTA Research Group said Thursday.

In a report posted on Twitter, OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David noted that NCR’s reproduction number, which refers to the average number of secondary infections by each positive case, eased to 1.28 from Sept. 9 to 15.

This rate is lower than the 1.39 reported during the period covering Sept. 2 to 8.

David also noted that the one-week growth rate of NCR dipped to 9 percent from Sept. 8 to 15, compared to the 14 percent recorded from Sept. 2 to 8.

“Kapag bumaba iyong reproduction number kumakaunti ang hawaan, bumabagal ang hawaan. The growth rate will also decrease like ngayon sa NCR, 1.28 reproduction number growth rate is 9% kapag bumaba ang reproduction number to 1 iyong growth rate naman pababa to 0% then magiging negative,” David said in an interview.

“Kapag negative na ang growth rate ibig sabihin kumakaunti na ang cases natin… In fact, nationally 6% na lang ang nadagdag,” he added.

David also said that the capital region recorded an average of 5,819 cases per day over the past week, while the daily attack rate per 100,000 population climbed to 41.66 from the previous 38.24. It also registered a positivity rate of 25 percent.

He noted that the NCR has not yet peaked but there is hope that it may happen in one or two weeks.

“We might be getting close to the peak nationally… That’s why we have renewed again hope that we might not hit 30,000,” he said.

“Most likely today we’ll see 20,000+ cases […] even up to 21,000 to 22,000 but we hope na it will be controlled in the sense it will not exceed the previous high 25,000-26,000. Maybe the trend will start to decrease,” he added.

David also expressed hope that the country’s health system will be able to take a breather by next month if the downward trend continues.

“Based on the trends that we are seeing, by October I am predicting —hindi ito projection, may kasamang hope and prayer — that by October, downward trend na tayo,” he said.

“Pero iyong hospitalization will still remain high for foreseeable future up to the next few weeks,” he added.

He, however, called on the public to continue adhering to the minimum public health and quarantine protocols to help curb COVID-19 infections.

PH lists 21,261 new COVID-19 cases; death toll breaches 36K

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Thursday recorded 21,261 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the tally of cases to 2,304,192 since the pandemic began in 2020.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the additional cases pushed the country’s active tally to 177,946.

Of the active cases, 86.1 percent are mild, 9.2 percent are asymptomatic, 2.65 percent are moderate, 1.4 percent are severe, and 0.6 percent are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 2,090,228 with 13,644 new recovered patients.

Fatalities climbed to 36,018 after 277 more patients succumbed to the viral disease.

Two laboratories failed to submit data on time, the DOH noted in its report.

Out of the 74,149 tests reported on Sept. 14, around 27 percent have been found positive for COVID-19.

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