MANILA, Oct 30 (Mabuhay) — A former adviser to the government’s pandemic task force on Saturday expressed support for it’s decision to retain Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila for at least two more weeks despite the decline in COVID-19 infections.
Dr. Tony Leachon said government probably took into consideration in its decision the new variant, the B.1.1.318 first detected in Mauritius, that was found in a patient from Negros Oriental, the subvariant of the Delta strain AY.4.2 currently being monitored, and the influx of visitors to the Manila Bay Dolomite Beach.
“I think ‘yan ang konteksto kung bakit ‘yung alert level 2 ay dine-delay. Tingin ko they want to find out, doon muna sa Dolomite nakaugnay ‘yan, that’s my hunch, they want to find out na baka ito ay mag-spike in the next two weeks, dinelay muna nila ‘yan. I think it’s a good move,” he said.
The first case of the B.1.1.318 was detected in a 34-year old male patient who returned to the Philippines from the United Arab Emirates last March 5. The patient recovered from the respiratory illness on March 21.
The B.1.1.318 variant was classified as a variant under monitoring by the World Health Organization last June 2.
Last week, the environment department recorded a total of 121,744 individual that went to the artificial white beach at the Manila Bay despite the continuing COVID-19 threat.
“In-expect ko na nga na maluwag na ‘yung alert level 2 kasi mababa na ‘yung cases at single digits na ‘yung positivity rate pero dumagdag itong presence ng mga variants na mino-monitor natin,” he said.
Malacañang on Friday said Metro Manila will remain under Alert Level 3 until Nov. 14.
“I think enough ‘yung Nov. 1 to 14 to observe kung ‘yung Dolomite ay may spike na mangyayari at ang effect din ng variant in the next two weeks ay mag-spike sa UK or other countries para makapag-travel ban ka sa ibang country kasi after that Pasko na,” he said.
On Friday, the Philippines recorded 4,043 more COVID-19 cases with active infections reaching over 50,000. The country’s total COVID-19 cases stood at 2,779,943.
The positivity rate is down 8.6 percent, the health department said, from a high of 27 percent in September.
“To end the pandemic, kailangan talaga mag-increase ka ng vaccination rate. Tayo, ang vaccination rate natin mataas sa NCR pero the rest of the country mababa. So how can we end the pandemic and lead to economic recovery if we will turn a blind eye towards the vaccination rate of the country,” he said.
As of Thursday, the country has fully vaccinated 26.8 million individuals, while 31.4 million have been partially inoculated from the disease.
“You might have 100 million doses pero hindi mo ma-deploy sa countryside, anong use nun mag-eexpire lang ‘yan at magkakaroon ulit ng surge in the future,” he said. (MNS)