Metro Manila to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions, Casinos Still Questionable

  • By
  • Published
  • Est. 3 minutes

The Philippines government announced that it will reduce the COVID-19 alert for the National Capital Region, which includes Metro Manila, from Level 3 to Level 2, due to a decrease in the number of cases. While it’s good news for the city and the rest of the country, casinos could still have to operate under separate government-led restrictions.

COVID-19 Alert Level Drops

Alert Level 2 will allow a wide range of establishments to increase their indoor space capacity by 30% to 50% and outdoor space by 50% to 70%. MICE venues, venues for social gatherings, tourist attractions and amusement parks, movie houses, cinemas and other venues are all included.

Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and lottery shops are still not allowed to operate, except when given special authorization. Manila’s integrated resorts, which includes their gaming areas, have been specifically authorized to operate at 75%, according to Alert Level 3.

The new alert level will take effect on February 1, four weeks after the NCR was placed under Alert Level 3. There were 16,884 new COVID-19 cases on January 30, slightly lower than the 17,305 a day prior.

COVID-19 Cases Rise in Other Areas

The rise in COVID-19 cases in Cagayan De Oro prompted the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) to place the city under Alert level 3. Friday’s report by the city government brought the total number of COVID-19 cases to 23,042. 2,121 cases are still active, 20,049 individuals have recovered, but 872 have passed away.

The mayor of Cagayan de Oro City, Oscar Moreno, praised the COVID-19 vaccination team in the city for its work on the vaccination rollout as part of the city’s measures to combat the spread of the disease. As of January 28, 552,923 people, or 96.34% of the target population, had been vaccinated.

Moreno stated that the increase in cases is already affecting the city’s bed utilization capacity and health care utilization rate. He asserted, according to the Philippine News Agency, “This is due to the cases outside the city and yet it’s the city that bears the brunt (of a higher alert level). I hope that Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) finds a solution to help the city.”

Moreno stated that the city may be elevated to a higher alert level after the IATF examines the most recent COVID-19 figures. Dr. Gina Itchon, NMMC research and development department chief, agrees.

She explained, “Cagayan de Oro City’s predicament is also the same problem faced by highly urbanized cities (where government regional hospitals are located). It doesn’t seem fair that just because we’re accepting patients from outside the city that the city will be penalized with a higher alert level (because of outside patients).”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.