Wow. That was quick! The Alert Level 3 of control on Metro Manila that was supposed to last until November 14, 2021, suddenly ended as Alert Level 2 was declared by the national authorities late in the evening of November 4 and took effect as November 5 started. This new level of control on Metro Manila will last until November 21, 2021.
To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) article about Alert Level 2. Key parts in boldface…
Metro Manila will be under a more relaxed Alert Level 2 quarantine classification starting Nov. 5 until Nov. 21, Malacañang announced on Thursday night.
“The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Thursday, November 4, 2021, approved the de-escalation of the National Capital Region to Alert Level 2. This shall take effect beginning tomorrow, November 5, 2021 until November 21, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
The IATF also approved the recommendation of the sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics to base the alert level assignments on data that is nearest to the implementation date.
“Starting December 1, 2021, alert level assignments shall be determined at every 15th and 30th of the month. Escalations, on the other hand, may be done at any time in the middle of the implementation period as warranted while de-escalations can only be done at the end of the 2-week assessment period,” he added.
Roque said the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF), together with the Regional Task Forces and Regional IATFs, were directed to provide weekly feedback on the progress and implementation on all areas identified for Alert Level System roll-out to the IATF.
The IATF, he said, also amended the guidelines on the implementation of Alert Levels System for Covid-19 Response in pilot areas to clarify the allowed movement of persons under varying alert levels.
Meanwhile, Roque said the NTF also approved the fourth phase of the National Action Plan Against Covid-19 (NAP Phase IV) using indices to measure the success of the implementation.
For Infection Management, the indices are the number of severe and critical cases per month, time gap from detection to isolation, and tests per case;
Vaccine Roll-out will rely on the total vaccines administered per capita, new vaccine doses administered per capita, and fully vaccinated individuals; and
For Socio-Economic Recovery, the indices are the Purchasing Managers’ Index by IHS Markit, google mobility to retail and recreation, and number of commercial airline passengers.
Under Alert Level 2, the following are allowed to operate, or be undertaken at a maximum of 50 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18 years of age, even if unvaccinated, and 70 percent outdoor venue capacity provided that workers of the said establishments are fully vaccinated against Covid-19:
–Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE)
–Permitted venues for social events (parties, wedding receptions, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers)
–Visitor or tourist attractions (libraries, museums, galleries, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints)
–Amusement parks or theme parks
–Recreational venues (internet cafes, billiard halls, arcades, bowling alleys, swimming pools, and similar venues)
–Cinemas and movie houses
–Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for basic education subject to prior approval of the Office of the President
–Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training
–In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, and funerals for Covid-19 cremains and non-Covid-19 deaths
–Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations and authorized specialty examinations
–Dine-in services of food preparation establishments
–Personal care establishments such as barbershops, spas, salons, and other similar procedures, including home service options
–Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for individual non-contact exercise and sports
–Film, music, and television production
–Contact sports approved by the LGU
–Funfairs/peryas or kid amusement industries (playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides)
–Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences (karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters)
–Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household
In relation to the above information load, I recommend you readers to pay close attention to the details and explanations about the new COVID-19 Alert Levels System which were emphasized in the recent article of the Manila Bulletin. This is to help you readers, particularly Metro Manila residents, to avoid confusion about how the system works.
Now posted below are a few relevant news videos…
While it is indeed surprising to see the IATF change the level of control in Metro Manila before the current Alert Level 3 ended, the new Alert Level 2, in my honest opinion, will prove to be crucial for the private sector and the many struggling businesses to bounce back commercially as the limits on capacity have been eased. Businesses now need as much time as possible to come up with the money needed to pay the mandatory 13th month pay of their employees. Speaking of employees, the unemployed will have better chances to work again under Alert Level 2.
Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Do you believe the IATF made the right decision to ease the restrictions on Metro Manila a level lower? Are you concerned that new infections of COVID-19 in Metro Manila will rise soon after?
You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.
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