COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila takes effect today

In case you missed the news, the daily count of new COVID-19 infections around the Philippines has gone up sharply since the last few days of December 2021. On the evening of December 31, it was announced by the national government that Metro Manila will be placed under Alert Level status starting today – January 3, 2022 – until the 15th.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency’s article. Some parts in boldface…

The alert level status in Metro Manila will be raised anew from the current Level 2 to Alert Level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15, 2022, Malacañang announced on Friday night.

In a public announcement, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decided to shift to a more stringent alert level status as the country saw a spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.

“Nakita naman natin sa mga nakaraang araw ay nag-increase exponentially ang mga kaso dahil sa Holiday activities kung saan tumaas ang movement ng mga tao at bumaba ang compliance sa minimum public health standards. Isa rin sa dahilan ang detection ng local cases ng Omicron variant (We saw an exponential rise during the past days because of the Holiday activities where there were increased movement and compliance with minimum public health standards may have been disregarded. Local cases of the Omicron variant were also detected),” he said.

Nograles added that an increase in Covid-19 positive cases is expected in the succeeding days thus, the IATF’s decision

After 12 days of active cases below 10,000, the number increased to 10,418 on December 29 and was at 14,233 by year-end after 2,961 new cases.

The Department of Health also confirmed 10 new cases of the Omicron variant, with three already recovered.

Nograles cited a “high possibility” of local transmission of the Omicron variant.

Under Alert Level 3, establishments or activities shall be allowed to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity, provided that all workers of the establishments are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Movements

Intrazonal and interzonal movement are still allowed, however, reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the LGUs, which should not be stricter as those prescribed under higher alert levels and subject to the oversight, monitoring, and evaluation of their respective Regional IATF.

Those below 18 years of age, and those belonging to the vulnerable population, shall be allowed access to obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices in accordance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations. Individual outdoor exercises shall also be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status. 2.

Prohibited activities

Meanwhile, the following establishments and activities that are considered high-risk for transmission under Alert Level 3 are not allowed:

  1. Face to face or in-person classes for basic education, except those earlier permitted by the IATF and Office of the President;
  2. Contact sports, except those conducted under bubble-type setup, as provided for under relevant guidelines adopted by the IATF, Games and Amusement Board, and Philippine Sports Commission, and approved by the LGU where such games shall be held;
  3. Funfairs/carnivals and kid amusement industries like playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;
  4. Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters;
  5. Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments, except those that will be allowed by the IATF or Office of the President; and
  6. Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.

Allowed activities

He said allowed activities under Alert Level 3 at a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity are the following: 

  1. Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE);
  2. Permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers; 
  1. Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like;
  2. Amusement parks or theme parks;
  3. Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues;
  4. Cinemas and movie houses;
  5. Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training;
  6. In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased;
  7. Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, and specialty examinations authorized by the IATF subject to the health and safety guidelines as approved by the IATF;
  8. Dine-in services in food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols;
  9. Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures including home service options, subject to the sector-specific protocols of the DTI;
  10. Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols. Provided that patrons/clients and workers/employees wear face masks at all 3 times and that no group activities are conducted; and
  11. Film, music, and television production, subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, DOLE, and the DOH.

These activities will be allowed provided that all on-site workers/employees of these establishments and organizers of activities are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and MPHS shall be strictly maintained. There is no objection from the LGU where these activities may take place.

The IATF, he said, instructed the Technical Working Group headed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and National Vaccination Operations Center to craft guidelines in the implementation of stricter measures for the unvaccinated individuals.

Metro Manila was under Alert Level 2 for some time and a lot of people and their families have been enjoying the added freedom of movement due to the reduction of restrictions. This, of course, contributed to the crowding at stores and food-and-beverage joints, and the rise of parties or social gatherings during the Christmas season. Along the way, cases of Omicron in the Philippines started to grow. Omicron, which has been magnified by the secular, liberal media organizations and caused a lot of problems worldwide, is feared for being more contagious. Since Omicron is a problem in the country, I can only hope that the national authorities will consider acquiring a new and much bigger batch of the Russian vaccines Sputnik V and Sputnik Light as those vaccines were declared effective against the feared variant.

Other than raising the alert level and putting up more restrictions, the authorities should deal with the Omicron variant fast. I would not be surprised that the local stock market will lose points as long as the Omicron variant remains a problem in the Philippines. For those living in Metro Manila, I encourage you all to pay close attention to the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and examine how they will act, react and behave this time around. Let’s observe if those officials won’t be too distracted with pre-election activities related to the May 2022 national and local elections so that they can do their jobs efficiently.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Metro Manila resident, what is your reaction to this development? Do you think the daily number of new COVID-19 cases will fall to less than one thousand per day by January 15, 2022? Are you afraid of the Omicron variant? Do you think it is time for the government to import more Sputnik vaccines to push back against Omicron-related infections?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Slight rise in Metro Manila’s COVID-19 positivity rate was due to holiday frenzy according to OCTA Research

As far as Metro Manila goes, the slight increase of the COVID-19 positivity rate was caused not by the media-magnified Omicron variant but by the holiday frenzy according to OCTA Research in an article published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA report. Some parts in boldface…

The slight increase in Metro Manila’s Covid-19 positivity rate, average daily attack rate (ADAR), and reproduction rate was due to the holiday frenzy and not necessarily because of the Omicron variant, OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said on Monday.

David said it is premature to say that the newest coronavirus variant had something to do with the spike in numbers.

Based on two-week growth rates (TWGR), David reported that the current reproduction number is at 0.85 percent while the ADAR in the National Capital Region (NCR) is at 0.82 percent.

The positivity rate slightly increased to 1.4 percent.

“So, hindi natin masasabi ngayon na Omicron-driven ito dahil nakita rin naman natin ito last year. Siguro doon sa pagtitipun-tipon ng mga kababayan natin kaya kailangan doble pag-iingat lang naman din ang kinakailangan natin (So we can’t really say that it is Omicron-driven because we have seen this last year. The gatherings might have caused this, so we just really need to be extra careful),” he said in a media briefing.

As of Monday, the country has 9,579 active Covid-19 cases, the 10th straight day that the tally was below 10,000.

Four cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed so far.

Just like last year, David noted that the Covid-19 testing slowed down as laboratories took a break and the recent onslaught of Typhoon Odette affected the operations of some testing centers.

He said a “clear picture” as to how the Covid-19 cases suddenly increased might be available until the first week of January next year.

“Ang nangyari naman noong January this year lang, noong January of 2021, iyong uptick ay bumalik na siya sa normal level. So bumaba ulit siya. Iyon iyong sanang gusto nating makita ngayon na after January, kapag na-resolve na iyong testing, iyong kakulangan natin sa testing at iyong mga closed laboratories ay bababa ulit sa normal levels ang bilang ng kaso. Iyan iyong gusto nating mangyari (So, in January this year, the uptick went back to its normal level. So it went down again. So, that’s what we want to see after January [next year], if we resolved our backlogs in testing and in our laboratories, then the cases will go back to normal levels. That’s what we want to happen),” David said.

David sees no need yet to increase restrictions or push for premature interventions.

“It could just be a holiday uptick, which means na after the holidays, possibly bababa din iyong number of cases and iyong positivity rate (it is possible that the number of cases and the positivity rate will go down),” he added.

As I personally observed, a lot of people and families have been moving around not only because of the Alert Level 2 status of Metro Manila but also because of Christmas-related activities like shopping, touring and dining inside restaurants. I myself saw lots of people moving inside and around Festival Mall and the Alabang Town Center here in Muntinlupa City in the days leading to Christmas. Also there were families who had Christmas parties or small gatherings with relatives. Not even the news about the Omicron variant being present here in the Philippines impacted them. Fortunately for Filipinos, Omicron cases in the country are very few and all of those were detected from passengers who arrived from overseas. As of this writing, the Omicron variant has not been detected in the local population.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What can you say about this latest development? Do you believe OCTA Research’s analysis about the holiday frenzy being the factor behind the slight rise of COVID-19 positivity? Do you personally know people who still remained unvaccinated to this day? Are you aware about Sputnik vaccines being more effective against the Omicron variant (read a related article by clicking here) and that Pfizer’s vaccines are less effective?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Philippines monitoring coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron variant)

News about the new and more infectious coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 – also referred to as the Omicron variant – that reportedly originated in South Africa dominated the news cycles this past weekend and already the authorities here in the Philippines are monitoring it, according to a recent Philippine News Agency (PNA) report.

Before proceeding with the PNA’s news report, let’s take a close look as to what exactly is coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 or Omicron variant according to the World Health Organization (WHO) which published an article (published November 26, 2021) about it. The excerpt is pasted below and some parts in boldface…

The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.

There are a number of studies underway and the TAG-VE will continue to evaluate this variant. WHO will communicate new findings with Member States and to the public as needed.

Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a VOC, and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron.

As such, countries are asked to do the following:

  • enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
  • submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, such as GISAID.
  • report initial cases/clusters associated with VOC infection to WHO through the IHR mechanism.
  • where capacity exists and in coordination with the international community, perform field investigations and laboratory assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, severity, effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostic methods, immune responses, antibody neutralization, or other relevant characteristics.

Individuals are reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of COVID-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

As mentioned earlier, the Philippines is paying close attention to the Omicron variant. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine government is monitoring the new coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 that already has cases in South Africa, acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Friday.

During the Palace briefing, Nograles said members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Department of Health (DOH) are widely aware of the variant described by experts as “heavily mutated”.

“We are monitoring — intently monitoring — itong situation na ito. Patuloy pa rin po ang ginagwa nating (We are monitoring — intently monitoring — this situation. We continue to conduct our) genomic surveillance on the ground,” Nograles said in an interview.

He added the government is constantly exchanging information with the World Health Organization about the possible threat of the newly detected variant.

We are waiting their advisories kung ito bang variant na ito (if this variant) is considered a variant of interest or a variant of concern,” Nograles said.

Dana Krizia Sandoval, spokesperson of the Bureau of Immigration, said in another interview that various systems are in place once the IATF sees the need to adjust the travel restrictions caused by emerging Covid-19 variants.

“Kapag may directive po ang IATF na kailangan pong baguhin, immediately po kaya po nating i-implement and we have the sufficient manpower naman po para tugunan po itong mga pangangailangan na ito (Once the IATF gives its directive to change it, we will immediately implement it and we have sufficient manpower to augment these needs),” she added.

Sandoval said they are strictly enforcing health protocols and social distancing measures in all entry and exit points to make sure that travelers are safe when passing through the immigration area.

The above report ended stating that there have been confirmed cases of Omicron variant in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong.

While the Omicron news published are scary and unsettling to learn about, it should be noted that there are still ways for the Philippines to prevent the new variant from entering the country even though the national authorities are constantly working as people of different nationalities enter, exit or pass through our nation via air travel.

As the Omicron variant was found to be much more infectious than the previous variants of coronavirus, now is a much more crucial time for every unvaccinated person here in the Philippines to go out and get vaccinated. That being said, the patients who are due for a 2nd dose of their vaccine should contact the local authorities to ask when will they be scheduled for the 2nd shot. As for the fully vaccinated, watch out for updates about the release of booster shots for more patients apart from the already receiving senior citizens, the health workers and immunocompromised. For anyone vaccinated already enjoying the added freedom of movement and the ongoing revival of businesses under Metro Manila’s Alert Level 2 status (extended to November 30, 2021), always maintain caution by following health protocols.

As the many secular and liberal media outlets around the world enjoy publishing scary news about Omicron, we who believe in Lord Jesus should not panic nor allow ourselves to be crushed by fear. For His protection, I urge you all to pray to Him with Psalm 91 in the Holy Bible. Maintain unwavering faith in the Lord no matter what.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Face shields no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 3

It took a long time to happen but it finally happened at last and will surely provide people relief from the so-called protective but inconvenient face shields. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommended lifting of the mandatory use of face shields specifically in areas under Alert Level 1, 2 and 3, according to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended the lifting in response to the much-improved situations (note: low daily counts of new COVID-19 infections and the continued rise of people getting vaccinated) of the nation under the pandemic. Be reminded that prior to this new development, there was a collective push to make face shields non-mandatory in Metro Manila.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Philippine News Agency report. Some parts in boldface…

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to lift the mandatory use of face shields in areas under Alert Level 1 to 3.

“Ang decision ko is okay, tanggalin nyo na yung [face] shields. Pwede na ninyong (My decision is okay, you can remove face shields. You can), you dispense with the shields but not the (face) mask,” Duterte said in his prerecorded “Talk to the People”.

Duterte said face mask would remain part of the day-to-day safety measure “kasi matagal pa itong virus na nasa hangin lang (because the virus which is airborne will be here for a long time).”

He urged the public to make sure that the Covid-19 positivity rate in the country will continue to go down by following the health and safety protocols.

“You have to obey what the government will tell you to do because it’s for the good of the country and for you. Sumunod lang kayo (Just obey),” he said.

On Monday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum detailing the voluntary use of face shields in places with a relatively low Covid-19 alert level.

According to the memorandum, the use of face shields in community settings shall remain mandatory in areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns.

For places under Alert Level 4, local government units and private establishments are given the discretion to maintain or remove the wearing of face shields policy.

People residing in places under alert levels 3, 2, and 1 can voluntarily use the face shields as their added protection.

“The above protocols are without prejudice to the continuing mandatory use of face shields in medical and quarantine facility settings, and the required use thereof by healthcare workers in healthcare settings,” the order read.

The IATF-EID on Dec. 14, 2020 issued Resolution 88, requiring all persons to wear full-coverage face shields on top of face masks in all public places to control the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Based on the above details, for as long as an area is under Alert Level 3 and lower, face shields are no longer mandatory. Just optional. While a lot of face shields believers out there expressed that the said items are highly protective and prevent COVID-19 from entering people’s eyes, face shields are always inconvenient as they obscure people’s visions and make verbal communication even harder. Try talking to someone while you are wearing both a face mask (which itself muffles your speaking) and a face shield.

As long as COVID-19 infections are low and as long as people practice caution, walking around and doing your objectives without face shields can be done in areas under Alert Level 1-3. With the recent change, I encourage you to pay close attention to your own locality and also observe how the Metro Manila mayors and the MMDA will act and think now that face shields are no longer required in areas under Alert Level 1-3.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you relieved that face shields are no longer mandatory in areas under Alert Level 1-3? How much money did you spend on face shields since the start of the pandemic? How many face shields do you have right now?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: A collective push to make face shields non-mandatory in Metro Manila

It has been days since Alert Level 2 was declared all over Metro Manila and the result was the increase presence of people – including minors – at the parks, the shopping malls and food-and-beverage joints. This past Sunday, I noticed more vehicles traveling north on the Metro Manila Skyway which I found surprising as Sunday traffic is normally light. Vaccination for COVID-19 in the metropolis continues to grow and the national average of daily new infections has been below 5,000 per day for some time now. Things are looking optimistic.

As for the face shields that local have been compelled to use for some time now, there is a collective push to make them non-mandatory in Metro Manila. For one thing, face shields make verbal communication harder (as people are already wearing face masks). Another thing is that face shields can be quite inconvenient, even uncomfortable to use whether outdoors or indoors. Surely the local believers of face shields keep on preaching that the said things provide greater protection from COVID-19 but does the rest of the world agree with them? Locally, the OCTA Research group expressed that face shields should not be required inside cinemas.

More recently, it seems that the mayors of Metro Manila and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) want to scrap the use of face shields (note: there will still be specific places that require face shields) and make their recommendation to the national authorities, the Manila Bulletin reported.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin report. Some parts in boldface…

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) the scrapping of mandatory use of face shields in the National Capital Region following mutual agreement among Metro mayors.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos said Monday, Nov. 8, that the use of face shields will no longer be required except for “critical places.”

Critical areas, according to Abalos, are the hospitals, barangay health centers and public transportation.

“Ang napag-usapan namin sa faceshield number 1, ito yung isusugest ko sa IATF, na tanggalin na ho ang face shield hindi na gawing mandatory except for critical places (What we discussed about the faceshield was that the lifting of its mandatory use except for critical places. I would suggest that to the IATF),” Abalos said in a TeleRadyo interview when asked about what was Metro mayors’ say on removing the use of face shields.

Once approved by the IATF, the use of face shields will no longer be necessary in malls, Abalos added.

Last week, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Jonathan Malaya disclosed that DILG Sec. Año will be proposing to the IATF the lifting of the same policy as Metro Manila already deescalated to Alert Level 2 status.

For his part, Senator Manny Pacquiao expressed support on lifting the mandatory use of face shields, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. Pacquiao, who is running for Philippine President, also expressed his awareness about economic recovery and lessening the burden people have been living with.  

Going back to the Metro Manila Council and the MMDA, it has been reported by GMA Network that a recommendation or an appeal will be submitted to the IATF. Take note that the IATF is the top authority on COVID-19 matters and policies here in the Philippines.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this latest development? Do you think that the Metro Manila mayors and the MMDA, who are partly responsible for the August ECQ and even implemented a ban on outdoor exercise, are sincere about face shields right now? Are you sick and tired of being required to use face shields? What is the one thing you despised the most about face shields?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: Alert Level 2 in effect already in Metro Manila, good until November 21

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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