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NCR still in high-risk classification



Treatment czar and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega on Sunday said that Metro Manila is not yet out of the woods despite the downward trend in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the NCR Plus.

In an interview over DZBB, Vega said sending back medical personnel in Visayas is still not an option at this time amid the surge of COVID cases in the different regions outside NCR.

“Cases in NCR have been decreasing but we cannot say we are out of the woods,” Vega said.

Vega added that DoH also noticed an increase of COVID cases in nearby provinces, including in the IV-A region like Batangas, Laguna and Cavite.

He added that the National Capital Regions (NCR) remains in high-risk classification.

“We still need to prioritize Metro Manila in our vaccination as areas in the NCR are still considered as high-risk areas because of the population,” Vega added.

According to Vega, the medical personnel from the Visayas earlier deployed in the NCR will continue to provide reinforcement.

“What we are trying to avoid is another possible surge in the NCR, and we will again encounter problems in our healthcare workers,” Vega noted.

According to Vega, the DoH has tapped the services of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to help augment healthcare workers in the Visayas and Mindanao.

“BFP has its own nurses, medical workers who will help and can be deployed in areas in Visayas and Mindanao where there is spike in COVID cases,” Vega noted.

Vega added that the DoH also identifies low-risk areas in the country where the healthcare workers can provide augmentation.

He noted that among the areas where there is an increase infection include Negros Oriental, especially Dumaguete and Bacolod City in Negros Occidental.

Vega said in Mindanao, among those areas with surge in COVID cases include the Caraga region, Zamboanga City and Cagayan de Oro City.

“There is also an increase in Southern Mindanao, Davao region but we are able to control it now,” he said.

He attributed the increase in the opening of the economy in most areas in Visayas and Mindanao and in the presence of COVID variants.

“These areas are mostly under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine), GCQ (general community quarantine) so there is movement of people and second the Philippine Genome Center reported the occurrence of the variants in all the regions in the country that is why we need to strictly observe the minimum health protocol,” he added.