MORE areas in the Philippines have been placed under Alert Level 3 until the end of January this year.

Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved Resolution 157-A, which placed 55 provinces and cities in the country under level 3, starting January 16 until January 31.

These areas include:

* National Capital Region

* CAR: Baguio City, Ifugao, Mountain Province

* ILOCOS: Dagupan City, Ilocos Sur

* CAGAYAN VALLEY: City of Santiago, Cagayan

* CENTRAL LUZON: Angeles City, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Olongapo City, Pampanga, Zambales

* CALABARZON: Rizal, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Lucena City

* MIMAROPA: Marinduque, Romblon

* BICOL: Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Naga City, Sorsogon

* WESTERN VISAYAS: Iloilo City, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Guimaras

* CENTRAL VISAYAS: Lapu-Lapu City, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental

* EASTERN VISAYAS: Ormoc City, Biliran, Easterrn Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Southern Leyte, Western Samar

* ZAMBOANGA PENINSULA: City of Isabela, Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur

* NORTHERN MINDANAO: Bukidnon, Iligan City, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental

* DAVAO: Davao del Sur, Daval del Norte

* SOCCSKSARGEN: General Santos City, South Cotabato

* CARAGA: Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte

* BARMM: Lanao del Sur

Under Alert Level 2 are the following areas:

* CAR: Apayao

* CAGAYAN VALLEY: Batanes

* MIMAROPA: Palawan, Puerto Princesa City

* BICOL: Masbate

* CENTRAL VISAYAS: Siquijor

* ZAMBOANGA PENINSULA: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay

* NORTHERN MINDANAO: Camiguin, Lanao del Norte

* DAVAO: Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental

* SOCCSKSARGEN: North Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat

* CARAGA: Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte

* BARMM: Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi

Earlier, through Resolution 156-C, the IATF also placed the following areas under Alert Level 3 starting Friday, January 14, until end of the month:

LUZON

CAR: Benguet, Kalinga and Abra

ILOCOS: La Union, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan

CAGAYAN VALLEY: Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Quirino

CENTRAL LUZON: Nueva Ecija and Tarlac

CALABARZON: Quezon Province

MIMAROPA: Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro

BICOL: Camarines Sur and Albay

VISAYAS

WESTERN VISAYAS: Bacolod City, Aklan, Capiz and Antique

CENTRAL VISAYAS: Cebu City and Mandaue City

EASTERN VISAYAS: Tacloban City

MINDANAO

NORTHERN MINDANAO: Cagayan de Oro City

DAVAO: Davao City

CARAGA: Butuan City and Agusan del Sur

BARMM: Cotabato City

Nograles said the escalation of alert level was due to the increase in the number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases in the country.

He reiterated that the IATF considers some indicators in deciding whether to place an area under a stricter quarantine classification or not. These include the two-week growth rate, average daily attack rate and hospitalization rate in specific provinces or cities.

The government called on the public anew to continue to observe the minimum public health standards to prevent or slow down the coronavirus transmission.

It also appealed to those who have not yet been vaccinated to submit themselves for inoculation as added protection against Covid-19. (LMY)