What You Need To Know About The COVID-19 Alert Level Guidelines

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The government has expanded the alert level system in the Philippines since the number of coronavirus cases dropped and the healthcare utilization rate has improved, as cited by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a Palace press briefing on Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

Various provinces across the country were placed under a specific alert level starting October 20 until the end of October to monitor and minimize the risk of transmitting the virus.

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the COVID-19 Alert Level system is the new Community Quarantine Classifications for dealing with COVID-19 covering entire cities, municipalities, and/or regions; aimed to manage and minimize the risk of the disease through System Indicators, Triggers, and Thresholds determined by them to specify the public health and social measures to be taken in relation to the COVID-19 response.

The Department of Health is mandated to identify and declare the alert level system in a certain province while City and municipal mayors will be the one to impose granular lockdowns on individual houses, residential buildings, streets, blocks, puroks, subdivisions and/or villages within their jurisdiction as per the approval of the IATF.

Here are some of the important information people should take into account about the new quarantine guidelines:

The new alert level system has a total of five levels which will determine how grave is the threat of COVID-19 in a particular place or region.

In Alert Level 1, these are the areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate is low. Intrazonal and interzonal travel are allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. Moreover, all establishments, persons, or activities, are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards.

Meanwhile, Alert Level 2 are areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing. Indoor dine-in services and fitness studios and gyms may operate at a 50% venue capacity while outdoor dine-in services, religious gatherings, and fitness studios and gyms may operate at a 70% venue capacity.

Limited face-to-face classes for basic education will also be allowed, once approved by the Office of the President and government agencies will be fully operational under Alert Level 2, with at least 50% of its workers reporting on site.

Alert Level 3 are the areas reported to have high case counts and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization. Maximum of 30% indoor venue capacities such as dine-in services and fitness studios and gyms for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity.

Meanwhile, government agencies will be fully operational and should adhere to at least 30% on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements.

However, the following establishments and/or activities characterized as high-risk for transmission are not allowed to operate under Alert Level 3:

  • Face to face or in-person classes for basic education, except those approved by the IATF and/or the Office of the President.
  • Contact sports, except those conducted under a bubble-type setup as provided for under relevant guidelines adopted by the IATF.
  • Funfairs/peryas and amusement parks
  • Venues with live audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters.
  • Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except as may be authorized by the IATF or the Office of the President.
  • Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.

Whereas, in Alert Level 4, areas with high COVID-19 cases will be placed in high restriction guidelines. Indoor dine-in services and fitness studios and gyms may operate at a 10% venue capacity while outdoor dine-in services and fitness studios and gyms may operate at a 30% venue capacity.

Moreover, indoor meetings, weddings, and other gatherings will be allowed at a maximum of 10% for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity provided that they have been issued a Safety Seal Certification.

People below eighteen (18) years of age, and those belonging to the vulnerable population, are allowed to obtain essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices in accordance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations.

Fully vaccinated individuals belonging to the vulnerable population and those below eighteen (18) years of age will be allowed to have point-to-point travel, staycations and individual outdoor exercises.

Nonetheless, the following activities perceived as high-risk for transmission will not be allowed to operate, or be undertaken in areas classified under Alert Level 4:

  • Face to face or in-person classes for basic education, higher education or for technical, vocational education and training except those approved by the IATF and/or the Office of the President.
  • All indoor and outdoor contact sports.
  • Cinemas and movie houses.
  • Funfairs/preyas and kid amusement parks
  • Venues with live audiences such as in karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters.
  • Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except as may be authorized by the IATF or the Office of the President.
  • Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.

Furthermore, areas placed under Alert Level 5 shall observe the guidelines applicable to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) as provided for under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended. The benefits applicable to ECQ shall be applicable in Alert Level 5.

Take-out and delivery will be allowed in all alert level statuses.

Thus, here are the areas recently classified by the government based on the newly impose alert level classifications:

Alert Level 2: Batangas, Quezon Province, and Lucena City in Region 4-A; Bohol, Cebu City, Lapu-lapu City, Mandaue City, Cebu Province in Region 7; and Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental in Region 11.

Alert Level 3: Cavite, Laguna and Rizal in Region 4-A; Siquijor in Region 7; Davao City and Davao del Norte in Region 11.

Alert Level 4: Negros Oriental in Region 7 and Davao Occidental in Region 11.

Source: https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/downloads/2021/09sept/20211013-IATF-Guidelines-RRD.pdf, https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=181968650776753&set=a.167612282212390

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