On March 1, the National Capital Region and 38 other locations were downgraded to Alert Level 1 by Philippine officials, indicating that the country had overcome the threat of the Omicron form of COVID-19.
Secretary Carlito Galvez, the Philippines’ vaccine czar, pointed out that the least severe COVID-19 warning level was reached in the affected areas precisely a year after the country began its COVID-19 immunization program.
“Finally, nalagpasan natin ang pagsubok na dala ng Omicron,” Galvez reported at President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the People program.
“NCR and 38 areas will begin the roadmap to the new normal starting tomorrow exactly one year after we started the vaccination program,” he added.
Members of the Cabinet who were there applauded Galvez’s remarks.
For the country’s victory over Omicron, the vaccine czar commended the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the National Task Force on COVID-19 response, the National Vaccine Operations Center, local government units, the commercial sector, overseas partners, and the Filipino people.
Galvez stated that the first vaccine pills arrived from China on February 28 and that the vaccine deployment began on March 1.
He did, however, emphasize the importance of maintaining awareness to help LGUs self-regulate, manage, and live with the virus.
PH overcomes Omicron crisis – Galvez
The number of infections increased, but unlike the Delta variant-driven surge in late 2021, the Omicron-driven surge did not increase hospitalizations or deaths.
The drop in incidence recorded in February was attributed to immunization efforts and the comparatively mild COVID-19 strain.
Galvez said the government would look for elderly people who haven’t been vaccinated, vaccinate youngsters aged five to eleven, and give booster shots to seniors and people with comorbidities.
Under Alert Level 1, all businesses, people, and activities can operate at full capacity. However, according to Lopez, the obligation for vaccinations would remain in place for indoor activities.
“Magbubukas ang ekonomiya but less ang restrictions [The economy will open but there will be less restrictions],” Lopez said.
“Wala na yung requirement na RT-PCR [test], yung mga PNP clearance. Pero malaking bagay pa rin yung vaccination card,” Lopez said.