Alert Level 2 ‘prudent’ as Omicron lurks: Palace adviser

Businesses are making the most out of the country’s Alert Level 2 status amid uncertainties over the new coronavirus variant Omicron.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said retaining the current alert level “will be most prudent” for now.

“Alert Level 2 is fine during this time of uncertainty. Many businesses are still doing well. Many businesses are still quite happy now,” Concepcion said during a webinar on Friday organized by Cardinal Santos Medical Center in partnership with OCTA Research and Go Negosyo, the advocacy of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship.

Concepcion said the goal is to sustain the current condition wherein Covid-19 infection rate remains low and majority of businesses are open at a higher operating capacity.

“The question is: Can we sustain it by 2022?” he said.

He also said vaccination is still the key shield against all variants of the virus as the symptoms are milder among the inoculated.

He said the private sector supports the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) call for mandatory vaccination.

“This kind of push by IATF is important. Is this discriminatory? In no way that this is discriminatory because we are after a common good,” he said, adding that those who have medical conditions and pregnant who are not advised to get Covid-19 jabs will be exempted.

In areas where a 90 percent inoculation rate has been achieved, Concepcion said local government units may eventually prevent entry to unvaccinated individuals.

OCTA Research fellow Prof. Guido David said based on available data, the reproduction number of the Omicron variant is estimated at 10.

Minimum public health protocols can reduce it to five and for areas with vaccination rate of at least 80 percent, reproduction number is down to one

The seven-day average cases between November 26 and December 2 this year fell to 551 as against 1,635 during the same period last year.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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