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EXPLAINER: What is the Philippine government's code alert system for COVID-19?


The risk of entry and transmission of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) inside the country has prompted the government to activate certain measures to protect the public.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office released infographics with information sourced from the Department of Health (DOH) showing the different alert levels and what they mean in terms of response to the COVID-19 threat.

The DOH on Saturday raised the Code Red Sublevel 1 Alert after confirming a new case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to six.

President Rodrigo Duterte has thereafter agreed to issue a declaration of a public health emergency in the Philippines.

Alert Level 1: White

With an identified case of infection outside the country, authorities shall raise Alert Level 1 with the White Code Alert.

Under the White Code Alert response, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and embassies should start coordinating.

The monitoring of confirmed cases abroad, surveillance at the points of entry, as well as the enforcement of Health Declaration Checklist are expected to be strengthened.

Authorities should already prepare essential medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE). They should also review or update their protocols from previous experiences.

A technical working group should start discussion.

Alert Levels 2 and 3: Blue

When an imported case of COVID-19 infection is reported inside the country, Alert Level 2 will be raised.

Meanwhile, a World Health Organization’s declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern triggers Alert Level 3.

Under both alert levels, authorities are expected to exhibit a Code Blue Alert response which includes the activation of an inter-agency task force on emerging infectious disease.

Concerned agencies should monitor the flights in affected countries and enforce the health declaration checklist.

The government shall establish guidelines for the surveillance of COVID-19. The testing setup for the virus should also be established.

Health facilities should be ready to attend to patients.

Code Blue Alert also includes completing the inventory, procurement, prepositioning and augmentation of PPEs, supplies, and other needed equipment.

Travel restrictions, home quarantine, and isolation of patients should be imposed. Authorities should also advise the public to avoid crowded gatherings.

Alert Level 4: Red

When a local transmission is reported, Alert Level 4 is raised with a corresponding response of Code Red Alert. The Alert Level 4 could peak into a sustained human to human transmission and further spread.

Under the Code Red Alert, the inter-agency should include more government agencies to expand its response to the spread of the viral infection.

Selective contact tracing will be done. Vulnerable and high-risk groups will be the priority for testing and care.

Authorities should intensify its awareness to minimize the fear, anxiety, and unrest of the public.

The government should pursue a “sustained inter-agency, multi-level, whole-of-society coordination and response“  in its combat against the virus.

 

—KG, GMA News

Infographics from PCOO

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