MANILA – The country's vaccine czar on Wednesday expressed confidence that the National Capital Region (NCR) will shift to the more relaxed Alert Level 2 due to the continuing downtrend in the reproduction rate of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
"Nakikita natin very likely 'yun. Nakikita natin na bumababa na ang reproduction rate-- NASA (zero) point 52 percent and then also yung positivity ay bumababa na rin (We see that it is very likely. We see that the reproduction rate is decreasing at point 2 percent and then also the positivity rate is going down)," Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr, also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
Galvez said the government is currently focusing its pandemic response in high-risk areas such as Negros Oriental in Central Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
"We are very happy na sana sa NCR, tuluy-tuloy na ito at bumababa na ang ating new cases to less than 1,000 (we hope this will continue in NCR as the new active cases are decreasing to less than 1,000)," he said.
He, however, said the fate of Metro Manila's alert level is still up to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
"I do not want to preempt the discussion of the IATF. Pero nakikita natin na gumaganda talaga yung numbers at sa Metro Manila I am so happy na--very confident ako dahil more than 86 percent [population] na ang fully vaccinated (But we that the numbers are getting better and in Metro Manila, I am so happy and very confident because more than 86 percent of the population are now fully vaccinated)," Galvez said.
He said the NCR's vaccination rate will also increase up to 90 percent once the pediatric vaccination will be expanded in the areas, adding that there is no vaccine hesitancy in the region.
"Ang maganda kasi dito sa Metro Manila, wala kaming nakikitang hesitation kahit yung initial first dose natin ay umaabot na ng 96 percent (The good thing about here in Metro Manila, we don't see hesitation even in the administration of first doses now reached to 90 percent). So we are very happy about that," Galvez said.
Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, meanwhile, said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Metro Manila mayors are ready for a possible downgrade of the region's alert level.
"The mayors are already aware of the additional capacity that will be given to establishments under the alert level system and our data is good. We see a continuous decrease in the number of cases in the past two weeks and the vaccination program is in full swing. So with a combination of the ramped-up vaccination program, the decrease in cases, and the additional deployment of police personnel, we are all set once we downgrade Metro Manila to Alert Level 2," he said in a Laging Handa briefing.
Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 until October 31.
To date, the Philippines has administered a total of 56,826,389 Covid-19 vaccine doses nationwide, with the average daily vaccination rate in the last seven days has increased to 501,617 doses. (PNA)