The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed all establishments, including those indoors, in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 to operate at 100-percent capacity as long as proof of full vaccination is presented, Malacanang said Tuesday.
Acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said presenting COVID-19 vaccine cards is necessary, especially in indoor establishments or mass gatherings.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines avoided another surge in COVID-19 cases through continuous vaccinations and adherence to minimum public health standards.
In a prerecorded public address aired Monday night, Duterte touted his administration’s success in containing COVID-19 infections and reopening the economy.
Also, three more cases of the COVID-19 Omicron BA.5 subvariant were detected in the Philippines in the latest genome sequencing, raising its total to five, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday.
According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, two of the patients were from the Calabarzon region, while the location of the remaining case is still being verified.
Vergeire said the patient with an unknown location is fully vaccinated, while one case from Calabarzon is unvaccinated. The status of the remaining patient is still being verified, she said.
All patients have been tagged as recovered, but the health agency is looking into the symptoms they experienced and their close contacts, Vergeire said.
Seven more cases of the BA.2.12.1 were also detected in the latest genome sequencing run composed of 190 samples on June 6, she said.
Of the total samples, 114 or 60 percent were omicron, 14 or 7.4 percent were delta, one had ‘other lineages,’ and 61 had no lineage, Vergeire also said.
The daily average of new COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) has increased by 10 percent, independent monitoring OCTA Research Group noted Tuesday.
OCTA fellow Dr. Guido David said the daily average of new cases increased, from 78 recorded in the May 24 to 30 period to 86 in the May 31 to June 6 period, based on their analysis of data from the DOH.
The NCR’s reproduction number rose to 1.24 from 1.08, David said.
In a statement, Andanar said the IATF amended the guidelines on the Nationwide Implementation of Alert Level Systems for COVID-19 on June 4, as the government pandemic task force recognizes the need to further identify the establishments and/or activities that are allowed to operate or be undertaken in Alert Level 1 areas.
“The IATF allowed full 100% capacity under Alert Level 1, subject to presentation of proof of full vaccination before participating in mass gatherings or entry into indoor establishments,” he said.
Under previous guidelines, there were no restrictions in terms of indoor and outdoor capacities in areas under Alert Level 1.
All establishments, persons, or activities are likewise allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at total on-site or venue seating capacity, provided these are consistent with minimum public health standards, Andanar added.
Meanwhile, the President said: “If I were to judge myself, the one single thing that my government did was to contain Covid-19 in a very much earlier span of time. And to think that other countries are having a surge simply because maybe the citizens of that country do not want to follow regulations. But here, we are afraid.”
Duterte commended Filipinos’ compliance with Covid-19 health protocols, adding that this also allowed them to regain the confidence to return to work.
“Because we (re)started our economy, workers are able to return to work, leave their homes,” he added.
Duterte, who steps down from office in three weeks, enjoined healthcare workers and vaccinators to “stretch their efforts” and help in identifying Filipinos who have yet to get their COVID-19 jabs.
“What we are looking for are those vulnerable or elderly who cannot leave their homes and have not received their jab, if we can manage to find them,” he said.
The President, who leaves the Palace on June 30, acknowledged that many of them are bone-weary, but appealed to them to “do more” for fellow Filipinos.
“I know you are tired, but you have to do more for your countrymen.
That is my only request… This time do it for the country and do it for your countrymen,” he added.
The Philippines has so far inoculated more than 69 million people or 77.2 percent of its target population of 90.005 million, while 14.3 million individuals have already received booster shots.
Recent data from the Department of Health showed that a total of 1,295 new infections were logged from May 30 to June 5 with an average of 185 daily cases, 1.4 percent lower than the daily infections logged in the previous week.
Tokyo-based news magazine Nikkei Asia earlier ranked the Philippines 33rd on its COVID-19 Recovering Index, noting Manila’s improving pandemic response.