COVID-19 Alert Level System in the Philippines - How does it work?

COVID-19 Alert Level System in the Philippines – How does it work?




It has been almost two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, and it has irreversibly affected millions of lives and families. The speed of transmission and infectivity of COVID-19 causes a heavy burden on essential areas of governance, most notably in various sectors such as the economy, education, and healthcare.

With that said, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) issued the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines to harmonize and codify existing guidelines of the IATF and member-agencies on community quarantine, which shall be applied to all regions, provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays placed under community quarantine.

More so, Executive Order No. 151 (s.2021), issued on November 11, 2021, approved the nationwide rollout of the Alert Level System and adopted these Guidelines as the guidelines to be implemented and enforced in all areas under the said system. Now, we don’t only hear alert levels for volcano monitoring but also as a reference for community quarantine classifications. Let’s check out more about the country’s current COVID-19 Alert Level System and its guidelines.

What is COVID-19 Alert Level System?

It refers to the new community quarantine classifications for dealing with COVID-19 covering entire cities, municipalities, and/or regions. According to the IATF, it aims to manage and minimize the risk of the disease through System Indicators, Triggers, and Thresholds to specify the public health and social measures to be taken in relation to the COVID-19 response. In addition, it may be updated based on new scientific knowledge, information about the effectiveness of control measures in the country and overseas, and its application.

COVID-19 Alert Levels 
Alert Level 1refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate
is low.
Alert Level 2refers to areas wherein case transmission is low and decreasing, healthcare utilization is low, or case counts are low but increasing, or case counts are low and decreasing but total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate is increasing.
Alert Level 3refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at increasing utilization.
Alert Level 4refers to areas wherein case counts are high and/or increasing, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at high utilization.
Alert Level 5refers to areas wherein case counts are alarming, with total bed utilization rate and intensive care unit utilization rate at critical utilization

General Guidelines

The IATF identified the general guidelines as follows.

1) The DOH shall identify the Alert Level of the pilot areas. These areas shall follow the protocols consistent with the declared Alert Level. For the duration of the pilot implementation, classification of the pilot areas shall be done weekly, unless otherwise specified.

2) LGUs in pilot areas shall submit daily to their respective Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) such data as determined by National Government Agencies based on the template provided for by the IATF Sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics.

3) MPHS shall be implemented at all times consistent with the DOH Administrative Order No. 2021-0043 or the Omnibus Guidelines on the Minimum Public Health Standards for the Safe Reopening of Institutions.

4) The benefits for hazard pay and special risk allowances for all personnel in health facilities shall be applicable under the Alert Level System for the duration of the state of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19.

5) Except those located in areas covered by granular lockdowns, all other establishments or activities not prohibited under each Alert Level may be allowed to operate on-site provided they implement the minimum public health standards. However, they are encouraged to operate with a minimal on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements. For this purpose, the movement of workers of said establishments residing in areas not covered by granular lockdowns shall remain unrestricted.

Only hotels or accommodation establishments with valid DOT Accreditation shall be allowed to accommodate guests and clients subject to guidelines issued by the Department of Tourism and the IATF.

6) In all areas not under Alert Level 5, establishments permitted to operate under each Alert Level may be allowed additional venue/seating capacity on top of the existing allowable venue/seating capacities, as follows:

– An additional 20% if the area where such establishments are located has a vaccination coverage above seventy percent (70%) for both Priority Group A2 (senior citizens) and Priority Group A3 (adults with comorbidities), as determined by the Vaccine Cluster of the National Task Force Against COVID-19; and
– An additional 10% if said establishments have been awarded Safety Seal Certificates under the Safety Seal Certification Program.

Alert Level 5

Areas placed under Alert Level 5 shall observe the guidelines applicable to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) as provided for under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended. Moreover, the benefits applicable to ECQ shall be applicable in Alert Level 5.

Meanwhile, the following protocols shall be observed in areas placed under Alert Level 4,  3,  2, or 1, except for portions thereof under granular lockdown:

Alert Level 4

1) Intrazonal and interzonal travel shall be allowed subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination, except for those (i) below 18 years of age and (ii) belonging to the vulnerable population, namely, those who are over 65 years of age, those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women, provided that:

a) Those below 18 years of age and those belonging to the vulnerable population shall be allowed access to obtain essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices in accordance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations.
b) Fully vaccinated individuals belonging to the vulnerable population and those below 18 years of age shall be allowed to participate in the following activities:
– Specialized markets of the Department of Tourism such as Point-to-Point Travel subject to the reasonable regulations of the LGU of destination and Staycations; and
– Individual outdoor exercises even beyond the general area of their respective residences. Provided that, the minimum public health standards and precautions such as the wearing of face masks and the maintenance of social distancing protocols are observed.

2) Fully vaccinated individuals, including those belonging to the vulnerable population, may participate in the permitted activities under this Section.

3) The following establishments and/or activities characterized as high-risk for transmission shall NOT BE ALLOWED to operate or be undertaken in areas classified under Alert Level 4:

– Face to face or in-person classes for basic education, except those approved by the IATF and/or the Office of the President;
– Face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education or for technical, vocational education and training, except those approved by the IATF and/or the Office of the President;
– All contact sports, whether indoor or outdoor;
– Cinemas and movie houses;
– Funfairs/peryas and kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;
– Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters;
– Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except as may be authorized by the IATF or the Office of the President; and
– Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.


 

4) The following establishments, or activities, SHALL BE ALLOWED to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity provided that they have been issued a Safety Seal Certification. Provided further that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and minimum public health standards shall be strictly maintained. Provided further still, that there is no objection from the LGU where these activities may take place:

– Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE);
– Permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers;
– Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like;
– Amusement parks and theme parks; and
– Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues.

5) The following establishments, or activities, SHALL BE ALLOWED to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 10% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30% outdoor venue capacity. Provided that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and minimum public health standards shall be strictly maintained. Provided further that there is no objection from the LGU where these activities may take place:

– In-person religious gatherings. Provided that gatherings shall be limited to the conduct of religious worship and/or service, and processions and other similar mobile religious gatherings shall not be allowed. Provided further that pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, or other religious ministers and the assistants of these religious congregations have been fully vaccinated;
– Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, and specialty examinations authorized by the IATF subject to the health and safety guidelines as approved by the IATF;
– Dine-in services in food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols;
– Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures, including home service options, subject to the sector-specific protocols of
the DTI;
– Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols. Provided that patrons/clients and workers/employees wear face masks at all times and that no group activities are conducted; and,
– Film, music, and television production, subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, DOLE, and the DOH.

6) Gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19, and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased, shall be allowed, provided that the same shall be limited to immediate family members, upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the deceased and with full compliance with the prescribed minimum public health standards.

7) Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall remain to be fully operational. They shall adhere to at least 40% on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements.

Alert Level 3

1) Intrazonal and interzonal movement shall be allowed. However, reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the LGUs, which should not be stricter as those prescribed under higher alert levels and subject to the oversight, monitoring, and evaluation of their respective RIATF. Provided that those below eighteen years of age, and those belonging to the vulnerable population, shall be allowed access to obtain essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices in accordance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations.

Individual outdoor exercises shall also be allowed for all ages regardless of comorbidities or vaccination status.

2) The following establishments and/or activities characterized as high-risk for transmission shall NOT BE ALLOWED to operate or be undertaken in areas classified under Alert Level 3:

a. Face to face or in-person classes for basic education, except those previously approved by the IATF and/or the Office of the President;
b. Contact sports, except those conducted under a bubble-type setup as provided for under relevant guidelines adopted by the IATF, Games and Amusement Board, and Philippine Sports Commission, and approved by the LGU where such games shall be held;
c. Funfairs/peryas and kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;
d. Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters;
e. Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except as may be authorized by the IATF or the Office of the President; and
f. Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.

3) The following establishments, or activities, SHALL BE ALLOWED to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity. Provided that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and MPHS shall be strictly maintained. Provided further that there is no objection from the LGU where these activities may occur.

a. Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE);
b. Permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions,
engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers;
c. Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like;
d. Amusement parks or theme parks;
e. Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues;
f. Cinemas and movie houses;
g. Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training;
h. In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased;
i. Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, and specialty examinations authorized by the IATF subject to the health and safety guidelines as approved by the IATF;
j. Dine-in services in food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols;
k. Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures, including home service options, subject to the sector-specific protocols of the DTI;
l. Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for non-contact exercise and sports, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols. Provided that patrons/clients and workers/employees wear face masks at all times and that no group activities are conducted; and
m. Film, music, and television production, subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, DOLE, and the DOH.

4) Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall remain to be fully operational. They shall adhere to at least 60% on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements.

Alert Level 2

1) Intrazonal and interzonal movement shall be allowed. However, reasonable restrictions may be imposed by the LGUs, which should not be stricter as those prescribed under higher alert levels and subject to the oversight, monitoring, and evaluation of their respective RIATF.

2) Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments shall NOT BE ALLOWED to operate or be undertaken in areas classified under Alert Level 2 except as may be authorized by the IATF or the Office of the President.

3) The following establishments, or activities, SHALL BE ALLOWED to operate or be undertaken at a maximum of 50% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18 years of age, even if unvaccinated and 70% outdoor venue capacity. Provided that all workers/employees of these establishments are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and MPHS shall be strictly maintained. Provided further that there is no objection from the LGU where these activities may occur.

a. Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE);
b. Permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers;
c. Visitor or tourist attractions such as libraries, archives, museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints or overlooks, and the like;
d. Amusement parks or theme parks;
e. Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, archery halls, swimming pools, and similar venues;
f. Cinemas and movie houses;
g. Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for basic education subject to prior approval of the Office of the President;
h. Limited face-to-face or in-person classes for higher education and for technical-vocational education and training;
i. In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased;
j. Licensure or entrance/qualifying examinations administered by their respective government agency, and specialty examinations authorized by the IATF subject to the health and safety guidelines as approved by the IATF;
k. Dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, subject to DTI sector-specific protocols;
l. Personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures, including home service options, subject to the sector-specific protocols of the DTI;
m. Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for individual non-contact exercise and sports; Provided that patrons/clients and workers/employees wear face masks at all times and subject to DTI sector-specific protocols.
n. Film, music, and television production subject to the joint guidelines as may be issued by the DTI, DOLE, and the DOH;
o. Contact sports approved by the LGU where such games shall be held;
p. Funfairs/peryas or kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;
q. Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters; and
r. Gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.

4) Agencies and instrumentalities of the government shall remain to be fully operational and shall adhere to at least 80% on-site capacity while applying work-from-home and other flexible work arrangements

Alert Level 1

1) Intrazonal and interzonal movement shall be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities.

2) All establishments, persons, or activities are allowed to operate, work, or be undertaken at full on-site or venue/seating capacity provided it is consistent with minimum public health standards; provided further, that face to face classes for basic education shall be subject to prior approval of the Office of the President.

It’s important to know the alert status in the area where you reside or where you do business in, so you can make sure that you’re following the guidelines and avoid inconveniences. Check out the current alert levels in the Philippines below (as of November 13) via the Philippine Information Agency.

Source: IATF, PIA



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2 Responses

  1. mc carthism, reanganomics, voodoo economics,. information overload and with shock and awe ang ginawa sa bobong pinoy. election lang pala needed para mawala ang covid. mga politicians gustong gusto ang disaster and pandemic. unchecked and wanton govt spending and purchases. after this dut_e term daming politicians will retire as billionaires. there will come a time that politicians will not be needed anymore. what we need are thinkers, builders, engineers and professinals. asan na kaya si abuzalzal? ano kaya magiging comments nya?

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