IATF ‘provisionally’ OKs pilot run of COVID-19 alert level system in NCR

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has “provisionally approved” the guidelines for the pilot implementation of a COVID-19 alert level system in Metro Manila, the Palace said on Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said there will now only be two quarantine classifications in the region: enhanced community quarantine, as imposed by the IATF; and general community quarantine based on the city or municipality's alert level.

​Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Epimaco Densing added the pilot execution of the system will "hopefully" take place on September 16 to 30.

The alert level classification of pilot areas will be done weekly​, according to the DILG official. ​In the current proposal, the system will have Levels 1 to 4, with authorities still finalizing whether a hard lockdown will be referred to as ECQ or Level 5. Such a declaration will only be a "last resort" measure, he added.

Kapag Alert Level 4, wala pong dining at tsaka wala rin pong personal (care) services at wala rin pong mass gatherings,” said Roque. However, he admitted details on what activities will be allowed under particular alert levels are still being ironed out. ​Officials are likewise still discussing whether the National Capital Region will be placed under alert level 4.​

[Translation: Under Alert Level 4, there will be no dining services, personal care services and mass gatherings as well.]

Areas under the system will execute granular lockdowns based on guidelines from the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said the official, adding these lockdowns will be stricter this time around.

Only healthcare and allied health professionals will be allowed outside in areas under localized lockdowns. Also exempted from tight mobility restrictions are overseas Filipino workers bound for abroad and those returning, assuming they have completed their facility-based quarantine upon arrival.

The same applies to individuals with “other exceptional circumstances” like those needing urgent medical care.

Households affected by granular lockdowns or families in isolation will receive aid from their respective local governments and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, added Roque.

​The ECQ, modified ECQ, GCQ and MGCQ classifications will still be imposed in areas outside the capital region, he also noted.