Government urged to gradually ease Metro Manila restrictions

Workers cross Juan Luna Street in Divisoria, Manila January 20, 2022. Preliminary results of the Asian Development Bank’s COVID-19 Country Assessment Report show the Philippines lags behind its neighbors in a comeback to pre-pandemic growth rates with long-term effects of the pandemic on employment being a major concern. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The government is urged to delay the de-escalation of COVID-19 restrictions in Metro Manila by a week, the UP Pandemic Response Team said on Monday, a day before the easing of the capital region at alert level 2.

Metro Manila should gradually ease its restrictions to ensure “proper implementation of protocols”, said Professor Jomar Rabajante of UP, noting that Metro Manila was also under alert level 2 during the holidays.

“What we’re suggesting is dahan-dahan because…we still don’t have research on how natural omicron immunity can protect us and the second even though there’s already a phase of decline in terms of transmission in the NCR, the number is still in the thousands,” he told ANC Headstart.

“What we’re suggesting is that the protocols really get implemented unlike December.”

The Pandemic Response Team suggests cities in Metro Manila must have at least an average daily attack rate below 75% in order to ease its restrictions, Rabajante said.

“What we suggest is to wait 1 more week because our average daily attack rate is very high. We can see next week if it will really drop and if the positivity rate will also drop,” did he declare.

The city of San Juan is ready to move to Alert Level 2 after its active COVID-19 cases fell 86% to 272 from 1,947 infections in 18 days, its mayor Francis Zamora said.

“Because the numbers are going down and it’s clear that the effect of the omicron variant is fading, once people come out again…I think we’ll be able to sustain the numbers,” a- he declared.

“It’s self-regulation that works for us now…I totally agree that we should learn to live with COVID-19, we can’t always lock ourselves in…we have to move on thing, being able to understand that the virus is there.”

The city has vaccinated 250% of its target population, including non-residents, and remains open to inoculating those in other cities and provinces, Zamora said.

“Our vaccination is open to all Filipinos no matter where you live. We have promised them that we will continue to vaccinate our fellow Filipinos as long as they (the government) provide it to us,” he said.

“We are getting registrants from other cities, we have registrants from Visayas coming in by plane.”

For the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11, the city has 5,000 residents and 3,000 non-residents already registered, according to Zamora.

The inoculation will take place at a designated vaccination site only for said age group, with a target of 1,000 injections per day, the mayor said.

ANC, ANC Top, ANC Exclusives, Headstart, Metro Manila, Alert Level 2, UP Pandemic Response Team, San Juan

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