NCR to be placed under Alert Level 4 granular lockdown starting Sept. 16

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DILG Secretary Eduardo Año at a press conference on the Continued implementation of the Presidential Directive to clear Roads of Illegal Obstructions, on Monday, February 17, 2020. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

The granular lockdown system with Alert Level 4 will be piloted in the National Capital Region (NCR) starting September 16, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday.

“Alert Level 4 will be implemented in the NCR,” Año said in an interview with the television morning show.

Under Alert Level 4, persons below 18 years old and above 65 years old, those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women are not allowed to leave their homes except for obtaining essential goods and services and working in permitted industries and offices.

Indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits; indoor venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, events (MICE); indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, and venues with live performers such as karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters; outdoor and indoor amusement parks or theme parks, funfairs/peryas, kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides; indoor recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, and similar venues and staycations are also not allowed to operate under Alert Level 4.

Outdoor or alfresco dine-in services in restaurants and eateries are allowed to operate at 30 percent capacity, regardless of customers’ vaccination status while indoor dine-in services may be allowed at 10 percent capacity, only for fully vaccinated individuals.

Personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons are allowed to operate at 30 percent, if these services are conducted outdoors, regardless of customers’ vaccination status while indoor services are at 10 percent capacity, only for fully vaccinated persons.

Outdoor religious services are allowed at 30 percent capacity, regardless of vaccination status. Indoor religious gatherings, meanwhile, may be allowed at a limited 10 percent venue/seating capacity, only for fully vaccinated individuals.

Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) shall be limited to immediate family members.

Government offices will remain fully operational with at least 20 percent on-site capacity with the implementation of work-from-home and other flexible work arrangement schemes.

No surprises

Meanwhile, Año clarified that there will be no surprises in the imposition of the granular lockdown as local government units (LGUs) have long identified the areas that will be placed under this particular restriction.

“The LGU or the LCE (local chief executive) have the authority to declare a granular lockdown so it is up to them how they want to give those areas that will be placed in granular lockdown a warning),” he added.

Año said the LGU and its communities are well aware of the areas that can be placed under this type of restriction. Areas under granular lockdown are required to be under this restriction for two weeks to prevent further transmission.

This will be done through aggressive testing, contract tracing and separating positive especially asymptomatic cases, and identifying their close contacts, and placing them under quarantine for 14 days.

Only healthcare workers and returning and leaving overseas Filipino workers will be considered as Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) in areas under granular lockdown.

Alert classifications

Under the new guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Monday night, the new quarantine classifications that will be piloted in Metro Manila will have five Alert Levels that would determine the activities allowed in cities and/or municipalities.

These include:

* Alert Level 1 – refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate is low.

* Alert Level 2 – refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing.

*Alert Level 3 – refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization.

* Alert Level 4 – refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate are high.

*Alert Level 5 – refers to areas wherein case counts are alarming, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at a critical level.

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