(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Nov 15 (Mabuhay) –It is not impossible for the National Capital Region (NCR) to be deescalated to alert level 1 by December, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.

“So again, let me reiterate, it is not impossible for the National Capital Region to be deescalated to Alert Level 1 by December,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a media briefing.

Data from the DOH showed that NCR meets almost all the requirements for it to be deescalated to alert level 1 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vergeire said that for an area to be deescalated to Alert Level 1, it must sustain a low-risk classification for two incubation periods and have sufficient vaccine coverage.

Both the Philippines and NCR were classified as low risk on November 2.

“So ibig sabhin, kung ikaw ay na-classify namin as low risk start ng November 1, i-observe ka namin ng dalawang incubation period hanggang end of November if you can sustain this low risk na classification dito sa area,” Vergeire said.

(This means that if we classified an area as low risk on November 1, we need to observe if it can sustain the low-risk classification for two incubation periods until the end of November.)

Meanwhile, an area must have vaccinated 70% of its senior citizens and persons with comorbidities as well as 50% of its target population.

Vergeire said NCR has vaccinated more than 70% of its seniors and over 50% of its target population.

However, it has yet to meet the 70% vaccination requirement for persons with comorbidities.

“Medyo hinahabol lang po nila ‘yung mga individuals with comorbidities na hindi pa nila naa-achive na 70%,” Vergeire said.

(NCR is still vaccinating individuals with comorbidities. It still hasn’t achieved 70%.)

Meanwhile, Vergeire said the Inter-Agency Task Force is looking to add safety seals as an additional requirement for the deescalation to Alert Level 1.

“Ibig sabihin, aside from being vaccinated, sigurado rin o mabibigyan ng safeguard ang ating public kasi ‘yung mga pupuntahan nila ay makakasiguro tayo na meron silang compliance to safety protocols like ventilation atsaka ‘yung iba-ibang minimum public health standards,” she said.

(This means that aside from vaccinating, we need to give the public a safeguard that there will be compliance to safety protocols and ventilation as well as the other minimum public health standards.)

“So itong threshold na ito pinaguusapan parati. Ngayong Huwebes siguro mapagde-desisyonan na para maidagdag natin sa additional requirements natin for alert level 1,” she added.

(So we’re still discussing this threshold. We may decide on this by Thursday as an additional requirement for Alert Level 1.)

Metro Manila will be under Alert Level 2 until November 30.

Under Alert Level 2, establishments will be allowed to operate indoors at 50% capacity with additional 10% capacity if they have a safety seal. For outdoors, they will be allowed at 70%.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III previously said the alert level in NCR may further deescalate if the country’s COVID-19 cases decrease to 500 per day.

The Philippines on Sunday logged 1,926 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,816,980 and active cases to 28,102. (MNS)

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