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DOH: Too early to say if NCR can de-escalate to Alert Level 2 next month

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday that it was still too early to say whether the National Capital Region (NCR) could de-escalate to Alert Level 2 come February.

During the Laging Handa briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated that the peak of the COVID0-19 surge was projected for the end of January or by the middle of February.

Active cases in Metro Manila were also expected to double by the second week of February.

With this, Vergeire said, “It’s too early to declare or to say to our people that we will shift or de-escalate to Alert Level 2.”

The NCR and 50 more areas were under Alert Level 3 until the end of the month.

In an interview on Dobol B TV, National Task Force Against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa said that Metro Manila could downgrade to Alert Level 2 come February since most of the cases in the region were outside NCR, there were fewer infections, and fewer cases were going to hospital.

However, Vergeire said that although cases were going down in the region, it should be taken into consideration that not all who undergo antigen testing are being reported to the DOH.

“So we are closely monitoring… sa ngayon hindi pa masasabi if we can de-escalate by the middle of February dito sa NCR,” she said.

Chinese New Year

Vergeire meanwhile appealed to the public to postpone any plans to gather for Chinese New Year on Tuesday, February 1.

The DOH undersecretary said it is not yet to have gatherings since the number of COVID-19 cases is still high, and the threat of contracting COVID-19 is still there.

"We remind our citizens to postpone gatherings or reunions because our cases are still high," she said.

"Even if we are vaccinated, we can still get infected and spread the virus to others," Vergeire added.

Chinese New Year has been declared a special non-working day— DVM/KG, GMA News