Metro Manila ready for lower COVID-19 level alert by November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 27) —Metro Manila is ready to shift to Alert Level 2 from 3 by November, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday.

“Handang handa po ang DILG. Handang handa rin po ang ating mga mayors sa National Capital Region," DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a government briefing.

[Translation: The DILG and the mayors in the National Capital Region are prepared.]

"Alam na po ng mga mayors 'yung additional capacity na ibibigay sa establishments na regulated under the alert level system,” he added.

[Translation: They already know the additional capacity that will be allowed for establishments regulated under the alert level system.]

The capital region is under Alert Level 3 for the second half of October.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said she sees a “very high” possibility that the capital region will shift to Alert Level 2 should infections and coronavirus-related hospitalizations continue to drop.

Secretary Carlito Galvez, the chief implementer of COVID-19 policies, told CNN Philippines' The Source on Wednesday this transition is "likely" due to the improving situation and vaccination coverage in the region. More than 86% of NCR's population is fully vaccinated, he added.

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines also believes the government may downgrade the alert level in NCR.

"Kasi ang difference lang naman actually ng level 2 and level 3, if you will note ano, is...'yung percentage of people na ina-allow nila papasukin sa mga, halimbawa, indoor dining, et cetera," the hospitals' group president Dr. Jose Rene de Grano told CNN Philippines' News.PH.

[Translation: Because the only difference between level 2 and level 3, if you will note, is the percentage of people allowed, for instance, in indoor dining, et cetera.]

De Grano said as long as minimum health protocols are followed, the spread of the coronavirus can still be prevented even with the further easing of restrictions.

Metro Manila has been pilot testing the COVID-19 alert level system, which focuses on localized lockdown, since mid-September.

Malaya said 94 areas, mostly in Manila, are currently under granular lockdown.