MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday reminded the public that despite Metro Manila and 38 other regions imminently moving to the lowest COVID-19 alert level, the pandemic continues to rage.
In a televised briefing, DOH spokeswoman Maria Rosario Vergeire said the alert level system would remain in place, allowing for escalation if measurements show the need for a higher alert level. .
With the slow transition to the new normal, the health official explained that he was considering changing the way he would monitor the pandemic.
“Tinitignan natin na kung magtutuloy-tuloy na kinder sakit sa bansa in mundo, and does not change the direction of the numbers towards the use of catering facilities specifically for severe and critical cases,” she said.
“Pag tumataas ang kaso, mas nakafocus tayo his stern and critical in all facilities and that would be the signal for us to move to the next level.”
Although the country’s intensive care and bed utilization rate is below 30%, Vergeire said COVID-19 has not yet been declared endemic.
“However, the endemic virus in the endemic state has been detected, which is acceptable in a number of cases. Acceptable in society in this case or in the fight against the virus is acceptable in all cases,” a- she declared.
The Philippines will eventually reach that phase, especially since vaccination is an ongoing business, Vergeire said.
In Metro Manila, the government has targeted 11.3 million people for vaccination. The number of fully immunized people in the region has reached 11.5 million.
Nearly 85% of seniors and 96% of people with comorbidities in the NCR have been vaccinated.
Vergeire said there were still many people who had not yet been fully vaccinated or had not received a booster. But that doesn’t necessarily equate to people being less about vaccines, she says.
“Kelangan siguro suyurin ang mga komunidad in NCR para makita pa ‘yung iba na maaring hindi nakakalabas ng bahay for bakunahan.”
She reminded the public that maintaining Alert Level 1 and living with a sense of normalcy now rests in the hands of the public, with self-regulation deemed more important than ever.
Under alert status, paper-based contact tracing will no longer be required for agencies and establishments, while mobile apps like StaySafe will be optional.
The latest figures from the DOH on Monday showed the lowest daily tally of new COVID-19 infections this year at 951 cases. The country’s total reached more than 3.6 million.
Despite lower test outflows, the positivity rate for the country has fallen to 5%, the benchmark set by the World Health Organization that indicates infections are under control.