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Metro Manila Placed Under Alert Level 3 From Oct. 16 To 31

Metro Manila Placed Under Alert Level 3 From Oct. 16 To 31

Quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila will be relaxed this week as the COVID-19 situation in the capital region continues to improve.


The government's pandemic task force has approved the recommendation to place Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 from Oct. 16 to 31, presidential spokesman Harry Roque announced on Wednesday, Oct. 13.


The National Capital Region or NCR, the Philippines' economic center, is under Alert Level 4, the second most stringent classification in the government's new quarantine system.


The downgrade in the alert level will increase the permitted operational capacity of businesses, allowing business establishments to serve more clients.


Under the alert status, food businesses may operate in full capacity for take out and delivery while dine-in services will be permitted at 30% capacity. Personal care service establishments can also fill in up to 30% of their venue capacity. The same operational capacities will be implemented on closed and crowded venues and close contact activities. However, the allowed capacities for businesses with safety seals may increase by 10%.


The venue capacities will not apply to areas under granular lockdowns.


Under Alert Level 4, the allowed operational capacity for dine-in and personal care services and in-person religious activities is just 20%.


Roque previously said Metro Manila has a "high" chance of being downgraded to Alert Level 3 because of a high vaccination rate, and the lower COVID-19 infections and intensive care unit utilization rate. As of Oct. 10, more than 77% of Metro Manila's eligible population have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 while the utilization rate of its intensive care unit beds is at 69% or moderate risk.


The alert level system with granular lockdowns is being enforced only in Metro Manila but the government is considering proposals to expand it in other areas.


Other classifications


The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has also placed Apayao, Kalinga, Batanes, Bulacan, Bataan, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Naga City, Zamboanga City, and Zamboanga del Norte under modified enhanced community quarantine, the second strictest classification under the old quarantine system.


Meanwhile, the areas to be under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions are Abra, Baguio City, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, City of Santiago, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Quezon, Batangas, Bacolod City, Capiz, Lapu-Lapu City, Negros Oriental, Bohol, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Davao de Oro, Butuan City, and Surigao del Sur.


Ilocos Norte, Dagupan City, Ifugao, Benguet, Tarlac, Lucena City, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Puerto Princesa, Marinduque, Albay, Camarines Norte, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, Cebu City, Cebu Province, Mandaue City, Siquijor, Tacloban City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, Iligan City, Davao City, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, General Santos City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Cotabato City, and Lanao del Sur will be under regular GCQ.


The rest of the country will be placed under the most lenient modified general community quarantine.


The latest quarantine classifications will take effect on Oct. 16 and will be enforced until the end of the month.


Revised green lane rules


The IATF has also revised the rules for the green lanes for arriving international passengers. The new rules will take effect starting Thursday, Oct. 14. 


For fully vaccinated foreign nationals, a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR test shall be required to be taken within 72 hours prior to the departure from the country of origin. Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine will be required but the passenger should self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day. 


Fully vaccinated Filipinos can choose to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken in the quarantine facility upon arrival.


However, they will not be required to undergo a facility-based quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin. The passenger, however, should self-monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms until the 14th day.


Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day. However, foreign nationals will be required to secure hotel reservations for at least six days. 


Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated minors traveling with their fully vaccinated parents or guardians will be required to observe the quarantine protocols that apply to their vaccination status.  A parent or guardian shall accompany the child in the quarantine facility for the entire duration of the isolation period.


Countries, territories and jurisdictions that are in the green list are American Samoa, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Chad, China (mainland), Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Hungary, Madagascar, Mali, Federated States of Micronesia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Niger, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Poland, Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of Netherlands), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Taiwan, Algeria, Bhutan, Cook Islands, Eritrea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Niue, North Korea, Saint Helena, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tokelau, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Yemen. 


To validate their vaccinate status, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their spouse, parents, or children traveling in the Philippines or abroad, non-OFWs  vaccinated in the country and abroad, and foreigners vaccinated in the Philippines can present either their VaxCertPH digital certificate, international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis (ICV) issued by the Bureau of Quarantine and World Health Organization (WHO), or the national digital certificate of the foreign government where they were vaccinated. 


"In the case of foreigners vaccinated abroad, they can present WHO-issued ICV, or the national digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement," Roque said. 


The IATF has also approved and adopted the revisions of the guidelines on the implementation of alert levels system for COVID-19 response in the pilot areas.