MANILA, Philippines – The alert level of three provinces in the Cordilleras and the province of Northern Samar in the Visayas have been escalated to Alert Level 4, an indication of the stress placed by COVID-19 surges on local healthcare systems.
The new alert level will be in place starting Friday, January 21, until January 31.
Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced the new alert level impositions through a statement on Thursday, January 20. The areas covered are:
- Mountain Province
- Northern Samar
The following areas, meanwhile, have been added to the list of places under Alert Level 3 until the end of the month.
- Puerto Princesa City
- Zamboanga del Norte
- Zamboanga Sibugay
- Lanao del Norte
- Davao de Oro
- Davao Oriental
- North Cotabato
- Sultan Kudarat
- Surigao del Norte
Escalations of alert levels are triggered by increasing healthcare utilization rate in an area, based on the national pandemic task force’s metrics.
Metro Manila is one of the other places under Alert Level 3 until at least the end of January. While the record-high COVID-19 daily figures are driven mostly by infections in the capital region, local officials and the national government say hospital occupancy has not yet reached the 71% rate that would trigger Alert Level 4.
Experts have seen fewer cases of severe and critical COVID-19 patients in Metro Manila during this surge, which many attribute to the almost 70% vaccination rate in the region. But other regions in the country don’t have as high a vaccination rate and, in some cases, not as many healthcare facilities.