While residents in Metro Manila and 38 other areas are ecstatic to be moving to the most relaxed Alert Level 1 starting today, Malacanang warned that vaccination and adherence to minimum health protocols must continue to avoid another outbreak of infections and the reinstatement of quarantine restrictions.
“Our reaching Alert Level 1 may be regarded as a victory, but this is not yet the time to celebrate. We need to be responsible for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Even if we have controlled it, the threat of COVID-19 remains in our midst,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, acting presidential spokesperson, said on Monday.
He said that the government’s “new normal” Alert Level 1 status was attained because people cooperated with the government, followed rules, took care of their health, and got vaccinated.
Nograles urged those who have been completely vaccinated to receive their booster doses, as well as parents of children aged 5 to 11.
The epidemic was not yet gone, according to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, because it is not yet in its endemic stage.
COVID-19 pandemic not yet over – Vergeire
“What the endemic state means is that the virus will be around, will be with us in our lives but the number of cases or even deaths will be acceptable to our society or to us Filipinos,” she said.
“We will get to the point that the cases will be predictable and manageable, and secondly, when the vaccination coverage in our country will be high, which can balance off the level of transmission of COVID-19. When we reach that level, we can already say that it’s endemic already,” she added.
Vergeire said people should be cautious and “self-regulate” by avoiding or being extra cautious in crowded areas and huge gatherings when masking and physical separation are not observed.
“I’d like to encourage everybody, sustaining this alert level 1 is in our hands. We don’t want to return to lockdowns, to the restrictions before, so self-regulation is the key. Let us help by complying with safety protocols,” she said.