The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is set to discuss the possibility of shifting to the most relaxed Alert Level 1 in the region, an official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Monday.
During a Laging Handa briefing, MMDA officer-in-charge General Manager Romando Artes said the MMC — composed of the 17 mayors in NCR — are scheduled to discuss the topic on Tuesday night based on the region’s current coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) risk classification, health care utilization rate, and continued decline in cases.
“Iyan po ay ibabase ng mga Mayor sa datos po na araw-araw naman po nari-receive namin from DOH (Department of Health), IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), NTF (National Task Force Against Covid-19) at ganundin po iyong kanilang experience sa ground (The mayors will decide based on data that we receive every day from the DOH, the IATF, NTF, and also from their experience on the ground),” Artes said.
To date, he said their target number of vaccinated individuals before considering a shift to Alert Level 1 has already been reached, with mostly the pediatric population, those with comorbidities, and the elderly that are still being vaccinated.
“Sinisimot na lang po natin dito sa NCR iyong mga may comorbidities at iyong mga ilan pa pong mga senior citizens na dapat pa pong mabakunahan at gayundin po pinapalawig pa rin po natin iyong booster shot na medyo iyon po ang medyo below target po tayo (We are still looking for the rest of those with comorbidities and senior citizens that need to be vaccinated and we are still rolling out our booster shots as we’re slightly below target),” Artes said.
To avoid a possible increase in vehicular traffic once the NCR shifts to Alert Level 1, he said the MMDA is working to clear ‘Mabuhay Lanes’ or alternative lanes in NCR and is studying the possibility of expanding the current Unified Vehicular Reduction Program (UVVRP) or number coding scheme beyond the current schedule.
“Sa ngayon po kasi, it’s only Monday hanggang Friday, between 5 to 8 p.m. lamang po. So, aaralin po natin kung kailan talaga (Right now it’s only Monday to Friday, between 5 to 8 p.m. So, we’re looking into whether it’s really necessary),” Artes said.
To date, the NCR and most of the country are under Alert Level 2 with the number of daily Covid-19 cases showing a sustained decline.
Earlier, DOH Undersecretary and treatment czar Leopoldo Vega said the IATF would consider a shift to Alert Level 1 by the end of February, noting that while the current metrics are good and Alert Level 1 will return “almost everything” to normal, Covid-19 and its virus are seen to remain. (PNA)