The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic can be described as a roller-coaster with hills and plunges that has been going on since early 2020. The start saw low figures in infection due to the highest, strictest quarantine lockdowns. Mid-2020 saw a surge in cases when some restrictions were lifted. It got to the point when medical personnel were overtaxed and begging for a break. Word of vaccines becoming available made the infection rate stabilize, but when vaccination commenced this year, mid-2021 saw record rises anew. But recently the numbers have dialed down again, and as the Holiday season approaches the lowered alert levels are coming across as a good thing.
According to The Manila Bulletin, both the number of active COVID cases and average daily attack rate for the pandemic continue to see a gradual decline. This was reported this Tuesday, November 2 by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. The improvement in this situation has been so palpable that Roque outright told listening Filipinos that there is a good chance for a better 2021 Holidays. As a result, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) which has monitored the pandemic nationwide since last year will now be discussing the possibility of holiday parties and family gatherings, within reason.
“We are at the low risk now,” notes Roque. “The alert level can still be lowered and that means there will be more businesses to reopen for our economy to be more vibrant and more people can work and enjoy Noche Buena.” He does however stress that, even as community alert levels continue to de-escalate, Filipinos must continue to observe all standing health and safety protocols plus restrictions, so as to keep the attack rate and infection on its downward slide and not risk a new spike as 2021 ends.
Currently, alert level 3 in the new pandemic alert system allows for social gatherings with some limited numbers (50% of max capacity in public venues), as in the NCR and nearby provinces. For alert level 2, children will already be allowed in malls and other indoor areas outside their homes. Spokesperson Roque cites the Department of Health in saying further than only when Metro Manila’s average daily attack rate drops to 7.7 will the IATF consider lowering alert level from 3 to 2. Should the case numbers visibly increase however, quarantine restrictions will again be applied. So Roque calls on the country to exercise caution even as December approaches, for more social liberties to come.
Image courtesy of Inquirer.net