The National Capital Region, except Manila, has been placed under highest alert level under the new system of quarantine classification, which started on September 16, Thursday.
Health undersecretary Rosario Vergeire said: “All areas except the City of Manila are classified as Alert Level 4. The Delta variant of concern had been detected across all areas in the National Capital Region.”
This alert level applies if hospital bed capacity in the area is over 70% and if the area is under moderate to critical risk for Covid. Vergeire added that NCR has a positive two-week growth rate, high-risk average daily attack rate and high-risk case classification.
The following cities have the most number of active infections: Quezon City (7,800 as of Sept. 5), Manila (5,005), Caloocan (3,826), Pasig (3,561) and Makati (3,529).
Despite Manila’s high number of infections, their hospital bed capacity stood at 65.47% and their intensive care unit utilization rate at 61.75%. As such, they are under Alert Level 3.
Curfew hours were also shortened. They are now from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., a move approved by all 17 mayors of Metro Manila.
Granular lockdowns can be applied to very small units, such as a few houses or a single street. It may even apply to just one floor of a condominium building. These would also only be enforced with as few as two confirmed cases. Localized lockdowns will also last for 14 days.
Families in areas that must go under lockdown will be given groceries and food packs by their respective local governments for the first week, while the following week will be taken care of by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Interior department spokesperson Jonathan Malaya also said that these lockdowns would not be preceded with a warning. “You’ll find out only once imposed. The only one to know will be the city health office, which has the data,” he said. “If there’s a warning, it would defeat the purpose.
Affected residents would only leave that area where there’s clustering.”
Despite this reasoning, Sen. Grace Poe urged LGUs to give residents “reasonable warning” to allow affected families to stock up on essentials.
Healthcare workers however, are doubtful of the effectiveness of this new system without free swab testing and identification of infected persons. The Alliance of Health Workers head Robert Mendoza said that swab testing was necessary to get a more accurate picture of the pandemic situation in various localities. Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine were also necessary to scale up to stem virus transmission.