PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE PHILIPPINE government would further relax restrictions once all parts of the country are placed under the lowest coronavirus alert level, a health official said on Wednesday. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said the entire country should be under Alert Level 1 before regulations are again adjusted.  

“The status below Alert Level 1 will be imposed when all areas in the country — all provinces, highly-urbanized cities, and independent component cities — deescalate to Alert Level 1,” she said at a Palace news conference.  

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

“When we talk about the next level after Alert Level 1, we’re considering it not per area but for the whole country already,” she said in mixed English and Filipino. 

Ms. Vergeire said “Alert Level 0,” which was first mentioned by the country’s health chief, is not yet an official term for the government’s pandemic task force.  

Under Alert Level 1, practically all mobility restrictions are lifted while minimum health protocols such as wearing of face mask are still implemented. 

She said the government will review if there is still a need for dedicated beds for coronavirus patients in hospitals, quarantine facilities in local areas, and surveillance on testing. 

Ms. Vergeire said on Tuesday that almost all areas in the country were now at low risk from the coronavirus. 

The government earlier placed Metro Manila and 47 other areas under Level 1 from March 16 to 31. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza