Health officials said 91 percent of provinces and cities are at high risk for COVID-19 as some 57 areas in Metro Manila, according to the National Capital Region Police Office, were placed under granular lockdowns.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said of the provinces and cities classified as high risk for COVID-19, at least 82 percent have high health care utilization and intensive care utilization rates.
Under the Department of Health’s (DOH) metrics, areas are classified as high risk if more than 70 percent of its COVID-19 hospital beds and ICU beds are occupied.
The COVID-19 fatality rate among the elderly, ages 50 to 80 years, also remains high, at 4.9 percent Duque said.
The number is high especially when compared to 0.39 COVID-19 case fatality rate among those aged between 1 and 49-years old, the Health chief said.
In Metro Manila, of the 57 areas placed under granular lockdown, 36 villages were under the Quezon City Police District; nine villages each were under the Northern Police District (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) and Eastern Police District (Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig and San Juan); and three villages were under the Southern Police District (Las Piñas, Makati, Muntinlupa, Pasay, Parañaque, Pateros and Taguig).
No area under the Manila Police District is currently under a granular lockdown.
Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4 of the five-tier alert system, to strike a balance between curbing COVID-19 spread and slowly reopening economic activities.
Under this alert level, 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 to obtain essential goods and services and to work in permitted industries and offices.
Dine-in services in restaurants, religious gatherings, and personal care services limited to barbershops, hair spas, nail spas, and beauty salons are allowed at a limited capacity -- 30 percent for outdoor services, regardless of vaccination status and 10 percent for indoor services for fully vaccinated persons only.
As of Sept. 5, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 4 million senior citizens, while 3.42 million others have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
The National Capital Region--where nearly 60 percent of the population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19--still has most of the country’s new COVID-19 infections, data from the DOH showed.
On Sept. 15, the capital region logged 4,391 new COVID-19 cases, followed by Calabarzon with 3,681, Central Luzon with 1,681, Cagayan Valley with 988, and Western Visayas with 767.
Among provinces and cities, Cavite recorded the most number of fresh infections with 1,674. Quezon City comes second with 1,261, while Laguna placed third with 658.
The Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 said Metro Manila should be under the strictest level, or Alert Level 5, of the new quarantine classification, as infections are showing no signs of slowing dow and hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.
“We believe we should be under Alert Level 5, not Alert Level 4. This is our worst surge in the past year and a half,” Dr. Antonio Dans, spokesman for the alliance, said in Filipino.
Movement restrictions are equivalent to those in the old enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“Will we wait until dead bodies pile up in emergency rooms before we declare Alert Level 5?” he said.
With 13.5 million people in Metro Manila, the NCR on Thursday shifted to Alert Level 4 under the government’s new quarantine rules.
Earlier, the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines Inc. also raised doubts if the new alert level system will be effective in bringing down new COVID-19 cases.
The Philippines logged 21,261 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 2,304,192.
There were 277 new fatalities Thursday, the highest since Aug. 25, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 36,018.
The DOH also reported 13,644 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,090,228.
There were 177,946 active cases, of which 86.1 percent were mild, 9.2 percent were asymptomatic, 0.6 percent were critical, 1.4 percent were severe, and 2.65 percent were moderate.
Nationwide, 77 percent of ICU beds, 68 percent of isolation beds, 73 percent of ward beds, and 57 percent of ventilators, were in use.
In Metro Manila, 79 percent of ICU beds, 65 percent of isolation beds, 72 percent of ward beds, and 61 percent of ventilators, were in use.
Also on Thursday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority asked the public to follow the rules and regulations enforced under the Alert Level 4 and granular lockdown in the National Capital Region to ensure the system’s pilot implementation will be successful.
Chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. and other MMDA officials inspected a number of private establishments in cities of Mandaluyong and San Juan at the start of the implementation on Thursday.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora and Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos joined the team who visited restaurants, salons, and other establishments in Greenhills Shopping Center and SM Megamall to check on their compliance.
During the inspection, the officials installed “100% Fully Vaccinated” stickers at the entrance of establishments whose employees have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We are satisfied with the private establishments’ compliance with the guidelines for the Alert Level system piloted in Metro Manila. Despite the short notice to the mayors, they all delivered,” Abalos said.
Among those placed under a 14-day granular lockdown Thursday was H. Santos Street in Barangay Tejeros in Makati City.
“I ordered the granular lockdown after noting an increase in the number of COVID-positive cases in the said area. We need to contain the infection by promptly identifying, isolating and treating infected residents,” said Mayor Abigail Binay.
She said affected residents will be provided with essential needs during the lockdown period.
“Having successfully implemented a localized lockdown before, we can assure the affected residents that we will take care of their essential needs while they remain in their homes. We have prepared food packs and other essential items, including COVID-19 home care kits for individuals who test positive,” Binay said.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.