Palace explains move to downgrade NCR, 7 other spots to Alert Level 2

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 31) — Malacañang on Monday explained that Metro Manila and other areas have met the parameters to be downgraded to Alert Level 2, despite earlier concerns from experts that it’s premature to shift back to a less strict status.

The government metrics on determining the alert level status include bed utilization rate, average daily attack rate (ADAR), and two-week growth rate.

“Pagdating sa NCR [National Capital Region], yung ating total bed utilization ay nasa below 49%. Ganun din sa Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Biliran, Southern Leyte, at sa Basilan. Dahil nasa 0% to 49%, which is our lowest classification for total bed utilization, nasa low risk na po siya,” said acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles in a public briefing.

[Translation: In NCR, the total bed utilization rate is below 49%. The same goes with Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Biliran, Southern Leyte, and Basilan. Because it ranges between 0% to 49%, which is our lowest classification for total bed utilization, they are in low-risk classification.]

The seven areas outside of NCR that will also be downgraded to Alert Level 2 by February 1 are Batanes, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Biliran, Southern Leyte, and Basilan.

“Kung titignan niyo po yung ADAR pati yung two-week growth rate po ng nabanggit ko ng areas...nasa moderate risk po sila. Dahil po doon pwede po siyang ma-deescalate to Alert Level 2. Ayun po yung nakita ng IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force], ayun din po yung pinresente ng sub-technical working group, at base na rin sa mga advise ng mga health experts,” he added.

[Translation: If you look at the ADAR and the two-week growth rate of the areas I’ve mentioned, they are all classified as moderate risk. Because of that they can be deescalated to Alert Level 2. That’s what the IATF noticed, That was also presented by the sub-technical working group, and likewise based on the advice of health experts.]

Despite the slow rise in coronavirus infections, the Department of Health earlier said that it’s still too early to shift the capital region back to Alert Level 2 as some people are not undergoing COVID-19 tests.

Meanwhile, the independent OCTA Research group said that the decline in COVID-19 cases is not yet low enough to merit Metro Manila a lower alert level status.

Daily COVID-19 cases in the country have been below 20,000 in the past six days.