MNS photo

MANILA, Dec 7 (Mabuhay) —

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday said he is in favor of keeping the National Capital Region under Alert Level 2 amid the threat of the Omicron variant.

At the Laging Handa briefing, Duque said the possible lowering of the alert level in the region will be tackled by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Thursday.

“Pero para sa akin dapat siguro tama na, manatili muna tayo sa alert 2… unang-una, ang mobility tataas na naman ngayong kapaskuhan, alam natin yan no, at lalong nagbabadya ang banta ng Omicron variant,” he said.

“So maigi na mas konserbatibo tayo (so it’s better if we will be conservative),” he added.

NCR will remain under Alert Level 2 until December 15.

Should the alert level remain the same, Duque said it is enough for the economy to recover.

“Malaki laki na rin ang bahagi ng ekonomiya na binuksan natin under the Alert Level 2 at ang mga establishmento ay ang kanilang kapasidad nasa 50%. Kung meron silang safety seal… nagkakaroon ng additional 10%,” he said.

“At kung sa lugar nila ay may 70% na vaccination rate for A2, A3, and general population, may additional 20% sila… mga 80%, hindi maliit ‘yun ha?” he added.

(If their area has a 70% vaccination rate for A2, A3, and the general population, they have an additional 20%, so that’s around 80%. That’s not small.)

Nikkei report

At the same briefing, Duque welcomed the Philippines ranking in the latest COVID-19 recovery ranking by Tokyo-based news magazine Nikkei Asia.

The country had jumped 46 spots from 103rd to 57th, sharing with Tajikistan, Norway, and Malaysia, due to a “significant increase in its infection management scores.”

“In fact, nung October nasa 121 tayo at pinapakita nga nila na kulelat daw tayo, but we kept progressing at naging maunlad yung ating mga hakbang para gumanda ‘yung ating ranking,” Duque said.

(In fact, in October we were at 121 and they said we were left behind, but we kept progressing and we improved our measures to increase our ranking.)

The Health secretary attributed this to the country’s vaccination trajectory, intensification of public health and social measures, improvement of health systems capacity, early detection, targeted response, and international border control measures.

The Philippines and most of its regions are now classified at minimal risk for COVID-19. (MNS)

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