COMFORTING MOM. Four kids comfort their mother as a health worker takes a swab sample specimen during dispatch procedure at the Multi-purpose court 1, (BP2) Depot, Quezon City on Wednesday (March 9, 2022). They are among eight beneficiary families who will return to their respective provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Naga City via the national government program. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Mar 10 (Mabuhay) — Philippine experts and government advisers are looking into the possibility of deescalating the country to pandemic Alert Level 0, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said on Thursday.

Metro Manila and 38 other areas that have shifted to Alert Level 1 this month are doing “so far so good” as businesses return to full capacity, said Duque.

He noted the country has tallied less than 1,000 COVID-19 cases daily for the last 6 days, and authorities hope this figure will go down to around 500.

“Malay natin baka naman pwede nang mag-deescalate to Alert Level 0. Pero ‘yung Alert Level 0, pag-uusapan pa ‘yan ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19),” he said in a televised public briefing.

“Pinag-aaralan na ito ng ating expert panel, ng technical advisory group natin at magbibigay ng rekomendasyon sa mga darating na araw.”

The IATF is also looking into whether other parts of the country can go down to Alert Level 1, Duque added.

Alert 1 requires an area to be classified as low to minimal risk for virus cases, and utilize less than 50 percent of its healthcare capacity, said the health chief.

Areas must also have a 70-percent vaccination rate, with 80 percent of their elderly population fully inoculated, Duque said.

The Philippines has so far fully immunized 63.99 million individuals, while 62.7 million have received an initial dose and 10.7 million have received their booster shots as of Wednesday. (MNS)

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