Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has approved the implementation of the granular lockdown system. Let’s learn more about the alert levels imposed during a granular lockdown.
The granular lockdown will be implemented specifically to a street, purok or barangay, instead of an entire city or province, this will impose strict quarantine protocols to smaller scale areas with the most number of covid-19 cases and will last not shorter than 14 days. There are guidelines that should be followed, while only health workers, uniformed personnel enforcing the restrictions, returning or outbound overseas Filipino workers, and those with emergencies are authorized to enter and exit areas under granular lockdown. Food deliveries and other essential items can only be dropped at the borders, the LGU’s should determine a system on how it will be delivered to houses. There will be no cash assistance for those who are affected by the granular lockdowns, instead, there will be food packs provided by the Local Government Units (LGU) on the first 7 days and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the remaining 7 days.
The LGUs are responsible to determine the areas that should be declared under the granular lockdown regardless of Alert level and should be effective immediately. If there are at least 2 positive cases within a street, they should be placed in a granular lockdown immediately. During the 14 days granular lockdown, there will be covid testing and contact tracing within the area. The classification of the Alert level will be identified weekly through the help of the Department of Health (DOH).
There are five classifications of Alert level:
Alert level 1
Areas that have low and decreasing recorded transmissions and this should also reflect a low rate of total bed utilization, and intensive care unit utilization. At this level, establishments and activities are allowed except for those that are under granular lockdown.
Alert level 2
For the Alert level 2 these are the areas that have low COVID-19 transmission and decreasing and healthcare utilization, or the transmission is low but increasing, and total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rates are increasing. At this level, Establishments could accommodate 50 percent of their total capacity except for areas that are under granular lockdown.
Alert level 3
The alert level 3 are areas that have COVID-19 transmission and high and/or increasing and the total bed and ICU utilization rates are also increasing, only selected establishments could accommodate 30 percent capacity. This includes restaurants, museums, religious gatherings, and so on.
Alert level 4
Alert level 4 is identified as areas in which transmission is high and/or increasing and the total bed and ICU utilization rates are also high. In these areas, 30 percent capacity of alfresco dining is allowed regardless of customer’s vaccination status, 10 percent for indoor dine-in for fully vaccinated only. Barbershops and beauty salons could accommodate 30 percent capacity for outdoor services while 10 percent for indoor services but for fully vaccinated customers only. Establishments such as museums, casinos, and other gambling venues, social events, and gatherings are not allowed. Ages below 18 years old and above 65 years old are strictly not allowed to go out of their houses.
Alert level 5
Lastly, Alert Level 5 is the highest alert level, refers to areas where COVID-19 transmission is alarming and the total bed and ICU utilization rates are critical. Areas in this level shall observe the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) guidelines.
According to the Octa Research, Covid cases have still increased 15 percent growth rate of Covid cases in NCR after two different lockdown classifications. Notwithstanding, the high rate of vaccinated people. The Octa Research also suspects that the increasing of covid cases is because of the rapid transmission of the Delta variant. They hope that the new system will help to lessen the transmissions and overcome the delta variant surge. With these newly implemented guidelines, businesses outside the granular lockdown can still operate with restrictions according to their specific levels. The government is hoping that this will help the health workers and economy to work together while some affected areas are on a hard lockdown, other areas could still operate their business and are allowed to open. Under this new system, the government is hoping that more businesses can re-open and more people can go back to work. Moreover, all the minimum public health standards, like wearing of face masks, face shields, social distancing, and proper ventilation of areas must be strictly observed.
Metro Manila will implement the guidelines on September 15 as Mayor Isko Moreno signed the Executive Order. Manila City is under Alert level 4 which indicates that indoor activities and establishments are limited to 10 percent capacity for fully vaccinated, and 30 percent capacity for outdoor activities. Indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits; indoor venues for meetings, staycations, face-to-face classes; indoor gyms and fitness studios and spas, and all contact sports; indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, karaoke bars, bars and clubs, concert halls, and theaters; indoor services such as derma clinics, make-up salon, massage therapy, and tattooing; outdoor and indoor amusement parks or theme parks, kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides; indoor recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, casinos, cockfighting, and similar venues are also not allowed to operate under Alert Level 4. Liquor Ban is also implemented and a uniform curfew of 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. will be implemented in Metro Manila. Only 30 percent capacity for outdoor Religious gatherings is allowed, while only 10 percent capacity for fully vaccinated for indoor Religious gatherings. For necrological services such as wakes, funerals, and inurnment is limited only to an immediate family member on death other than Covid-19. 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.
Meanwhile, The Philippine National Police (PNP) ensure peace and order during the implementation of the granular lockdowns. According to PNP Chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo T Eleazar, they are now ready to assist in the implementation of the new guidelines. They are already instructed to familiarize the guidelines for the enforcement of the granular lockdown and quarantine alert level system in Metro Manila. They are continuously coordinating with the LGU’s in Metro Manila, regarding the areas that would be placed under lockdown up to the distribution of assistance to the affected residents. Part of this is to strictly implement the curfew hours, they also appealed to the public to cooperate and follow all the rules and regulations.
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Written by Lysandra Faye Batac