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In the NCR, PNP is preparing for tighter health rules.

Beginning Monday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will reintroduce tighter health protocols against coronavirus illness (Covid-19) in Metro Manila.

This comes after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) agreed to raise the alert level for the National Capital Region (NCR) from Level 2 to Level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15, following a spike in Covid-19 infections across the country.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that the limits are correctly applied.” In a statement issued Saturday night, PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos stated, “We will closely communicate with the IATF and the LGUs (local government units).”

On Saturday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 3,617 new illnesses, up from only 288 new cases on December 23, 2021.

The Department of Health also confirmed ten additional instances of the Omicron type, three of which have already been recovered.

Under Alert Level 3, establishments or activities may operate or be carried out with a maximum of 30% indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all establishments’ staff are properly vaccinated against Covid-19.

Intrazonal and interzonal mobility are still permitted, although LGUs may apply appropriate limits, which should not be more stringent than those imposed under higher alert levels and subject to the oversight, monitoring, and evaluation of their respective Regional IATF.

Those under the age of 18 and members of the vulnerable population must be granted access to vital goods and services, as well as employment in permitted industries and offices, in compliance with existing labor laws, rules, and regulations. Individual outdoor exercises for people of all ages, regardless of comorbidities or immunization status, are also permitted.

All implementing agencies have been told to make sure that all protocols are followed and that minimum public health standards are met, particularly in confined and crowded locations and during close-contact activities.

Carlos anticipates the stricter alert level status to be criticized, but he believes the police force has a responsibility to enforce the limitations, emphasizing the need of adhering to the basic public health standards.

Security officers in companies, he said, can also act as force multipliers by ensuring that health protocols are followed to the letter.

“Police officers cannot be present in every public location at all times.” Given this constraint, private security personnel’ aid is a huge help,” he noted.

Carlos further stated that the PNP is prepared to impose granular lockdown in areas with a higher proportion of Covid-19 cases.

“This is a tried and true method. Residents in the neighborhood are given a great deal of care. “The movement is under control, but the risk of the virus spreading is reduced,” Carlos explained.

According to Carlos, the PNP is also prepared for contingencies that may arise as a result of other regions being placed on higher alert levels.

“The PNP will not take this lightly, even if the Omicron variation has yet to be validated in some locations.” “Placing NCR on Alert Level 3 will allow us to better control movement and needless crowding,” Carlos explained.

“However, the placement of border checks will be at the discretion of the LGUs,” he added.

He urged the public not to become complacent, stating that wearing a face mask and maintaining physical distance are still the best ways to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Meanwhile, the PNP said that the number of active Covid-19 cases has increased to 52, with 14 new infections added to the total of 42,285 confirmed cases.

One fresh recovery was also recorded, bringing the overall number of recoveries to 42,108, while the death toll remains at 125.

The PNP has fully vaccinated 215,764 personnel, with 8,809 receiving their first dosage and 1,537 remaining unvaccinated.

Carlos stated that they continue to share useful information about the vaccine’s benefits in order to persuade their unvaccinated employees to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations.

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