THE Province of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur joins Davao City in areas to be placed under Alert Level 3 until the end of January 2022.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced on Friday noon, January 14, that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) came up with the decision following a meeting the night before, wherein 55 provinces and cities in the country were placed under Level 3

Nograles said Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur will be under Level 3 effective January 16.

The two provinces will now be joining Davao City in the areas in the region under a semi-stricter alert level classification following the notable increase of Covid-19 cases.

Davao City was announced to be under Level 3 on January 12 and it took effect on January 14.

Meanwhile, Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, and Davao Occidental will remain under Alert Level 2.

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.

However, Davao del Norte declared itself under Alert Level 3 a day before the announcement of Nograles.

Davao del Norte Provincial Administrator Josie Jean Rabanoz said in a TV interview that Governor Edwin Jubahib signed Executive Order (EO) No. 2 on January 13, placing the entire province under Alert Level 3.

Rabanoz said the provincial government came up with the decision to self-impose the elevation of the province to a higher alert level due to the "alarming" rise of Covid-19 cases.

The administrator said there was a case shoot-up in just a span of two days. On January 10, the province only recorded six new cases, but on January 12, the cases spiked to 41, while as of January 13, 43 new cases were recorded.

She added the basis of their decision was also referred to IATF's decision to place Davao City under Alert Level 3.

"Nakit-an sa atong officials, headed by Kuya Go [Jubahib] nga it's just proper na musabay ta sa Davao City sa ilang pagka-level 3 considering na ang proximity nato sa Davao City para ma-control ang pag-spread sa Covid-19," Rabanoz said.

(Our local officials, headed by our governor, saw it necessary to be placed under Alert Level 3 because of our proximity to Davao City.)

She added that the province does not want to overwhelm its hospital and temporary health facilities again.

Rabanoz admitted that the provincial government, when the EO came out at that time, was not in accordance with the IATF ruling.

Davao City Covid-19 Task Force Spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said in a radio interview that the city being placed under a higher alert status does not mean it will be under a "lockdown.”

She, however, said the city will impose a zoning containment, wherein a granular lockdown will be imposed in households and establishments with clustering of cases.

Schlosser said the city will be limiting the movement of minors and the vulnerable population brought about the recent classification.

SunStar Davao reached out to Davao del Sur information officer Sherwin Cesar for updates on the province’s Covid-19 situation, but he has not responded as of Friday. (RGL with

SunStar Philippines)