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Olivarez says NCR should stay under Alert Level 1

Metro Manila Council (MMC) chairperson Edwin Olivarez on Saturday said the National Capital Region (NCR) should stay under Alert Level 1 as the national government mulls the implementation of Alert Level 0 amid the improving COVID-19 situation in the country.

“Maintain Alert Level 1 kasi based on data lagi tayo eh pero kita po natin bumababa yung ating mga cases," the Parañaque City mayor told reporters when asked if the region is ready to shift to Alert Level 0.

(We must maintain Alert Level 1. We rely on data, although we see that COVID-19 cases have decreased.)

The MMC, which is made up of all 17 mayors in the NCR, has not yet discussed the possibility of moving to Alert Level 0, according to Olivarez.

"Wala pang pag-uusap kasi nga itong may balita na naman tayo itong tinatawag na itong Deltacron itong ating yung dalawang variant na combination so pinag-aaralan pa natin yun pero until now March 15, Alert Level 1 muna tayo,” he said.

(There is no discussion yet because there is Deltacron, which is reportedly a combination of two coronavirus variants, so we are still studying it. We are still under Alert Level 1 until March 15.)

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, meanwhile, said he was open to the possibility of the region being placed under Alert Level 0.

"Level 1 is good. Level 0 is good. Whatever level, basta importante, uulitin ko, meron tayong kapasidad. Kung iyon yung direksyon, I'm for it. I will support it," he said.

(Level 1 is good. Level 0 is good. Whatever level, what is important is that we have the capacity. If that's the direction, I'm for it. I will support it.)

On Thursday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the government is now studying the possibility of further easing the country's COVID-19 status to Alert Level 0.

Duque said the country has recorded less than a thousand cases daily for six consecutive days, even though the NCR and 38 more areas nationwide are under Alert Level 1.

Under Alert Level 1, intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities.

All establishments, persons, or activities, meanwhile, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards.

Olivarez said that wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 would be the last thing to go.

“Yun ang huling huli kasi nga sa Alert Level 1 (ay) 100% operational capacity na tayo. May announcement ang CHED (Commission on Higher Education) ang college pwede na magklase ng face-to-face pero ang huling huli aalisin dapat dyan yung mask para totally macontain na natin itong pandemic,” he said.

(That is the last thing, because under Alert Level 1, we have 100% operational capacity. The CHED already made an announcement that colleges can hold face-to-face classes, but the last thing we should remove is the wearing of face masks so that we can totally contain this pandemic.) — VBL, GMA News