DOH REITERATES IMPORTANCE OF RISK ASSESSMENT, LAYERS OF PROTECTION AMID NEW ALS CLASSIFICATIONS AND APPROACHING HOLIDAYS

Press Release | 31 October 2022

Following the approval of the new COVID-19 Alert Level System (ALS) classifications for provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities from November 1-15, 2022 by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Department of Health (DOH) reiterated the need to strengthen public capacity for risk assessment, and highlighted the different layers of protection that the public can use to limit transmission, especially amid the coming holiday season and the relaxation of masking mandates in various settings.

Based on the recently approved ALS classifications, a total of 89 (74%) out of 121 provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities and 192 (29%) out of 669 other component cities and municipalities are under Alert Level 1, while 32 provinces, highly urbanized cities, and independent component cities are under Alert Level 2.

“This means that our key indicators, such as the healthcare utilization rate (HCUR), are showing improvements. We attribute this development to every Filipino who continues to cooperate with our COVID-19 response,” DOH Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said. “But while we see a continuous decline in case and admission trends, we must remember that deescalation does not mean that the battle with COVID-19 is already over. These current numbers are not permanent; we must all work together to maintain these low numbers,” the OIC added.

In light of the new classifications, along with the recent relaxation of mandatory masking in most settings, the DOH emphasized the need for increased vigilance and stricter implementation of measures and policies against COVID-19, especially ahead of the coming holiday season where increased mobility and contact rates are expected.

“Ngayong patuloy nating tinatanggal ang ating mga restrictions upang makatulong sa ating ekonomiya, mas lumalaki ang responsibilidad ng ating mga lokal na pamahalaan na siguruhing mananatiling mababa ang mga kaso sa kanilang mga lugar, lalo na ngayong Undas at paparating na Pasko kung saan inaasahan ang pagdagsa ng mga tao,” the DOH OIC said, “Kaya naman, kami po ay nananawagan sa ating mga LGU na paigtingin ang implementasyon ng ating mga estratehiya at polisiya laban sa COVID-19 at iba pang mga sakit–tulad ng pagbabakuna, pag-isolate kapag may sakit, pag-distansya, at bentilasyon–lalo na ngayong nagluwag na tayo ng ating masking mandates,” the OIC appealed.

“Sa atin naman pong publiko, ngayong maaari na po tayong magtanggal ng ating mga mask sa iba’t ibang settings, napakaimportante na matuto tayong mag-assess ng ating panganib bago tanggalin ang mask. Ibig sabihin, bago sabihing ligtas na magtanggal ng mask, isipin natin: Bakunado ba tayo? Marami bang tao kung nasaan tayo? May kasama ba tayong matanda, may sakit, o buntis sa bahay kung sakaling tayo ay mahawa? Lahat po ng iyan ay kailangan tinatanong muna natin sa sarili natin bago tayo magpasya na ligtas ang magtanggal ng mask,” the OIC Secretary said.

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