The government has expanded the imposition of its experimental quarantine system outside of Metro Manila, placing 19 provinces and cities under varying alert levels until the end of the month.
Malacañang announced Tuesday that the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had approved the pilot run of the Covid-19 alert level scheme in the provinces.
“Starting Wednesday, we will expand the new alert level system outside Metro Manila,” presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said in a televised briefing, two weeks after the quarantine scheme was piloted in the capital region.
“If we prove that this alert level system is effective, then we will implement it on a nationwide basis,” he added.
While results on the pilot implementation of the alert level system have yet to be released, Roque said it may have been successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila, which saw a downward trend in infections the past two weeks.
Under Resolution 114 ratified by the IATF, Negros Oriental and Davao Occidental have been placed under alert level 4, the second strictest of the five-tier experimental lockdown scheme.
Meanwhile, the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Siquijor, Davao City and Davao del Norte have been placed by the task force under alert level 3, similar to Metro Manila’s quarantine level.
Batangas, Quezon Province, Lucena City, Bohol, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Cebu Province, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental were classified under alert level 2.
Alert Level 1 is not yet hoisted in any province or city. Roque said areas should vaccinate at least 70 percent of its senior citizens, people with comorbidities, and eligible population before it can be included in the new lockdown system.
The alert level scheme is the government’s new strategy to curb infections without imposing region-wide lockdowns, allowing some businesses to operate at a specific capacity.
In areas under alert level 4, indoor dining is limited to fully-vaccinated individuals at 10 percent of venue capacity. It expands to 30 percent under alert level 3, 50 percent under alert level 2, and 100 percent under alert level 1.
Meanwhile, takeout or delivery services are allowed at 100 percent capacity at any alert level.
For gyms and fitness studios, indoor operations are allowed at 10 percent of capacity under Alert 4, 30 percent under Alert 3, and 50 percent under Alert 2.
The said capacity restriction also applies to indoor meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, said Roque.
Regardless of alert level, workers in the concerned establishments should be fully-vaccinated and group activities remain prohibited, Roque said.
Indoor and outdoor cinemas, on the other hand, remain closed under alert level 4. Their indoor operations are allowed at 30 percent under alert level 3, 50 percent under alert level 2, and 100 percent under alert level 1, provided that moviegoers are fully-vaccinated.
Outdoor operations are also permitted at 50 percent under alert level 3, 70 percent under alert level 2, and 100 percent under alert level 1.
The Philippines has so far reported 2.7 million individuals who have acquired Covid-19, of which 2.6 million have recovered. Some 41,000 Filipinos have died of the disease.