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Lawmaker calls for ‘more rational’ alert system as cases drop


A MEMBER of the House of Representatives on Thursday called on the administration to reassess the pandemic alert level system still in place as the number of coronavirus critical patients continues to drop.

“I appeal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to have a more rational calibration of the Alert Level system that reflects on-the-ground realities,” Albay Rep. Jose Maria S. Salceda said in a statement.

“We should stop focusing on raw case numbers. What matters is the number of people at real risk of dying from this pandemic. That means a shift towards critical case rates and hospital utilization rates.”

A health official said on Thursday that there’s no significant increase in coronavirus infections in the Philippines.

“We do not see any significant uptick in the number of cases in different parts of the country,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo in Filipino.

Ms. Vergeire said infections continue to fall daily with an average of 490 cases nationwide, 150 of which are in the National Capital Region.

The government has placed Metro Manila and 47 other areas under Alert Level 1, the least restrictive level, until the end of the month.

Ms. Vergeire earlier said all Philippine areas should be under Alert Level 1 before any deescalation to lower risk classification could be imposed.

She said any status lower than Alert Level 1 will be declared for the entire country and not per area.

The Philippines recorded 3,572 infections from March 14 to 20, 13% lower than a week earlier. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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