By Joseph B.A. Marzan
The national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the request of the Iloilo City government to de-escalate its COVID-19 risk classification to Alert Level 1 or the so-called new normal.
In a text message to Daily Guardian on Wednesday, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 Response Vince Dizon told him of the IATF-MEID’s “immediate” approval of his request for a lower risk level.
The mayor said the IATF is expected to announce the appeal’s approval “soon”.
Treñas made the request in a letter dated March 8, 2022 and addressed to National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, NTF chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año through Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III and the National Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
In his letter, the mayor cited the low case fatality rate (CFR), health care utilization rate, and the drop in the city’s two-week growth rate.
As of March 6, data from the regional health department showed that the city has the second lowest CFR in Region 6 at 2.21 percent next to the province of Aklan.
Treñas also cited the drastic decrease of –75% in the city’s two-week growth rate based on the 276 cases recorded in the recent two weeks compared to the previous record of 1,113 cases.
“With tight surveillance, stringent implementation of health protocols, massive RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing, swift isolation of close contacts with concomitant disinfection, Covid-19 infection in Iloilo City has dramatically decreased. This significant data must be given preferential attention and considerable weight to merit the de-escalation of our alert level status to Level 1,” he said.
Treñas also mentioned that the city’s HCUR also decreased from previous 61.24% to 45.56%, as of March 6.
He also emphasized that most of the patients admitted in healthcare facilities within Iloilo City are from neighboring local government units (LGUs).
The mayor also underscored the need for a much lower quarantine classification to help the business sector and allow the economy to bounce forward.
“Under Alert Level 2, certain industries remain prohibited to operate and most activities are not allowed to be undertaken despite a fully vaccinated population of 122.46%. Business owners and workers alike are constantly requesting for the city government’s humanitarian consideration in allowing more activities to take place but seeing that we are bound to follow the classification assigned by the IATF-EID, we are left with no choice but to echo their plea for due cogitation,” he said. (DG)