It’s surreal to think that just a little over a week ago, the country was logging less than a thousand new COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. It really looked like the Philippines was finally getting to see a semblance of ‘normalcy.’ Unfortunately, the momentum was snapped during the holiday season.
Amid the alarming rise in new COVID-19 cases across the nation, especially in Metro Manila, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced that unvaccinated individuals are now prohibited from leaving their homes unless for essential travel.
As per Philippine Star, the mayors of the capital region were in agreement that it was imperative to limit the movement of unvaccinated individuals while the region is under Alert Level 3 or higher. Under this local ordinance, those who have yet to receive a COVID-19 jab will be barred from malls, restaurants, and other public areas.
However, there may be differences among the ordinances that local governments will pass. This is why it’s important to check in with your local government unit’s website and social media pages.
The general rule is that people who haven’t been vaccinated yet are mandated to stay at home unless they’re going out to buy food, water, and medicine. They will be allowed to engage in individual outdoor exercise “within the general area of residence” but will not be allowed to do much else.
While unvaccinated individuals can leave their homes for work, there’s a catch: they will have to take RT-PCR tests every two weeks at their own expense and must present a negative COVID-19 test result before being admitted to on-site work. This rule covers not only those who live in the NCR region but those who work there.
To put things into perspective, the Philippine government managed to issue COVID-19 jabs to 50 million people in 2021, a little shy of its target of 54 million individuals. On December 31, the Palace announced that the NCR would be put under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15 because of an increase in COVID-19 cases and the threat posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
On the flip side, people who have been jabbed with the COVID-19 vaccine have a little more freedom in terms of mobility. However, given the alarming number of new cases, it’s still better and safer to stay at home in the meantime.
Art Daniella Sison