The head of a doctor’s group said on Sunday, Jan 2, that the rise in the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases was due to the sudden downgrading of the alert level in the country.

Dr. Maricar Limpin, head of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), stated her position on the issue after the National Capital Region (NCR) was placed under alert level 3 from Jan. 3 to 15 as the infection cases increased during the Holiday season.

Initially, the national government placed the country under a less strict alert level 2 from Jan. 1 to 15.

On Nov. 5, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said that the improving COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila then was enough proof to take risks and downgrade NCR to alert level 2 although the government needs to try and manage its risks.

“We have to try and manage the risk. We have to live with the virus and move on,” Año said earlier.

The DILG chief added that if the COVID-19 cases increase, then adjustments can immediately be made.

Admitting the likelihood of the upswing of COVID-19 cases, Año emphasized that LGUs must also “be quick to impose granular lockdown in areas where there are transmissions.’’

Despite Año’s stand, Limpin insisted that lowering the alert level system opened more businesses and encouraged more people to leave their homes and attend gatherings stressing that movement should be contained.

“Siguro masyadong mabilis ang pagbaba ng alert level. Kahit bumaba siguro ang alert level, medyo marami ang in-allow natin na lumabas na maraming tao (Probably relaxing the alert level was too abrupt. Even if the alert level was lowered, many people were allowed outdoors),’’ said Limpin on Super Radyo dzBB.

She also noted that more children were seen outdoors with the relaxed restrictions even if they remained unvaccinated as clustering of kids were observed and other health protocols were abandoned.

Limpin stressed that the unvaccinated kids are more vulnerable to the infection noting having encountered a case where a six-month old baby was tested positive for COVID-19. (Chito A. Chavez)

Source: Manila Bulletin (