The Philippines on Saturday posted a new all-time high in single-day COVID-19 cases as Health Sec. Francisco Duque floated the possibility of Alert Level 4 in Metro Manila.
The 26,458 cases for the day beat the previous record of 26,303 last Sept. 11, when Delta was the dominant variant. Authorities believe the current surge is driven by Omicron.
The day's tally brought total active cases to 102,017. The Department of Health also reported 265 new deaths and 1,656 recoveries.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Philippines logged a cumulative total of 2,936,875 cases, with 52,135 deaths.
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The possibility of raising Metro Manila's quarantine status to Alert Level 4 is being studied as authorities move to cap a surge that believed to be cased by the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Alert Level 4 means businesses operate at as little as 10% capacity and movement is limited to essentials. It's the equivalent of MECQ or Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine under the old system. Both Alert Level 4 and MECQ are one step below lockdown.
Raising Alert Level 4 will also mean a possible return of mandatory wearing of face shields in public places.
“‘Yun ang kinakatakutan natin. Pinaghahandaan natin ‘yan hindi malayo ang NCR (National capital Region) ipasya na mag-Alert Level 4,” Duque told dzBB radio. Health workers are getting sick, which could limit the government's capacity to respond to the surge, he said.
Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion told ONE News that "there are talks about Alert Level 4" but the direction is "towards Alert Level 3".