The Philippine National Police (PNP) is ready to implement again the stricter health protocols against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Metro Manila beginning Monday.
This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) decided to place National Capital Region (NCR) from the current Level 2 to a more stringent Alert Level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15 as the country saw a spike in Covid-19 infections.
“Our mandate is to make sure that the restrictions are properly implemented. We will closely coordinate with the IATF and the LGUs (local government units) as well,” PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos said in a statement Saturday night.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday reported 3,617 new infections, a huge increase from only 288 new cases recorded on Dec. 23, 2021.
The DOH also confirmed 10 new cases of the Omicron variant, with three already recovered.
Under Alert Level 3, establishments or activities shall be allowed to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 30 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity, provided that all workers of the establishments are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Intrazonal and interzonal movement are still allowed, however, reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the LGUs, which should not be stricter as those prescribed under higher alert levels and subject to the oversight, monitoring, and evaluation of their respective Regional IATF.
Those below 18 years of age, and those belonging to the vulnerable population, shall be allowed access to obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices in accordance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations. Individual outdoor exercises shall also be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status.
All implementing agencies are instructed to ensure that all protocols are adhered to and minimum public health standards are observed especially in closed and crowded spaces, and close-contact activities.
Carlos said he expects the stricter alert level status to receive criticism but the police force has the duty to enforce the restrictions, reiterating the value of following the minimum public health standards.
He said security personnel in establishments can also serve as force multipliers in ensuring that health protocols are strictly observed.
“Police personnel can’t be in every public place at all times. Given this limitation, the assistance of private security officers is a major boost,” he added.
Carlos also the PNP is also ready to enforce granular lockdown in specific areas with a relatively higher number of Covid-19 cases.
“This is a proven approach. The residents in the area are given much attention. The movement is controlled, but the possibility of spreading the virus is lesser,” Carlos said.
Carlos said the PNP is also prepared for contingencies arising from the possibility of other regions being placed on stricter alert levels.
“The PNP will not take this lightly even if some areas don’t have any confirmed transmission yet of the Omicron variant. Placing NCR under Alert Level 3 can help us to control the movement and unnecessary gathering of people,” Carlos said.
“As to putting border checkpoints, this will be up to the discretion of the LGUs,” he added.
He reminded the public anew not to be complacent, saying wearing of face mask and observing physical distancing are still the best practices in preventing the further spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the PNP said its active cases of Covid-19 have also climbed to 52, with 14 new infections recorded that raise the total of 42,285 confirmed cases.
The police force also logged one new recovery, bringing the total recoveries to 42,108, while the death toll still stands at 125.
The PNP’s 215,764 personnel have been fully vaccinated while 8,809 have received their first dose and some 1,537 remain unvaccinated.
Carlos said they continue to provide helpful information about the vaccine benefits to convince their unvaccinated personnel to get their Covid-19 jabs. (PNA)