THE Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases escalated the alert level in four provinces in the country from 3 to 4 due to the increasing number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases.

In a statement, Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said the IATF approved on Thursday, January 20, 2022, the escalation of alert level in Kalinga, Ifugao and Mountain Province in the Cordillera Administrative Region, as well as in Northern Samar in Eastern Visayas.

These areas will be under Alert Level 4 from January 21 to 31, 2022.

The IATF, meanwhile, placed more areas under Alert Level 3. These include the following:

LUZON

* Apayao

* Puerto Princesa City

* Masbate

VISAYAS

* Siquijor

MINDANAO

* Zamboanga del Norte

* Zamboanga Sibugay

* Lanao del Norte

* Davao de Oro

* Davao Oriental

* North Cotabato

* Sarangani

* Sultan Kudarat

* Surigao del Norte

* Maguindanao

* Basilan

Under the country's Covid-19 Alert Level System, level 4 is considered when case counts and hospitalization rates are high and/or increasing in certain areas.

Nograles said earlier that the IATF looks into the two-week growth rate, average daily attack rate and hospitalization rate as indicators in deciding whether to escalate the level or not.

Prohibited under Alert Level 4 and 3 are face-to-face classes, all contact sports (indoor and outdoor), cinemas and movie house, funfairs, karaoke, casinos, and gatherings in residences with individuals not belonging to the same household.

In areas under Alert Level 4, venues for meetings, social events, amusement parks, recreational venues, and tourist attractions are allowed to operate at 10 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30 percent outdoor venue capacity provided that they have been issued a Safety Seal Certification.

Churches, dine-in services, spas and salons, and fitness studios, meanwhile, are allowed to operate at 10 percent indoor venue capacity for fully vaccinated individuals only and 30 percent outdoor capacity provided that all workers of the establishments are also fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In areas under Alert Level 3, those establishments are allowed to operate at 30 percent indoor venue capacity and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity, the IATF guidelines stated. (LMY)