DUE to the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has elevated the alert level status of Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental to Alert Level 3 effective January 21 until 31, 2022.

Acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles announced this Thursday evening, January 20.

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 3, those establishments are allowed to operate at 30 percent indoor venue capacity and 50 percent outdoor venue capacity, the IATF guidelines stated.

Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental have joined Davao City (effective January 14), Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur (January 16) in the areas of Davao Region to be under Alert Level 3 until January 31.

This makes Davao Occidental the lone province in the region to be under the less strict Alert Level 2.

The announcement of the updated alert level classification in the region happened on the same day the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao confirmed the detection of five cases of Omicron variant in the region.

The cases include two returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who were tested in other regions.

Davao Oriental Provincial Health Officer II Dr. Reden Bersaldo said during the Inter-agency Consultative Meeting for the Possible Covid-19 Surge held on Tuesday, January 18, in Mati City that he is worried over the sudden increase in the number of cases in the province.

From only five cases in December 31, 2021, the figure surged to 83 as of January 16, 2022, Bersaldo said.

He said contributing factors of the growing cases could be the “lowering of guards among the public because of downgrading of the province to Alert Level 2, non-compliance to the health protocols, the mass gatherings during the holidays, and the entry of visitors from different places.”

As per the Provincial Health Office data, the rate of the increase in cases has reached 1,560 percent.

Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Tyron, who confirmed on Thursday, January 20, that he tested positive for coronavirus, also said that the province saw an exponential surge of cases.

Uy said they are also anticipating that the surge would be further experienced in the province by February this year.

He said the province’s Covid-19 situation was improving around two weeks ago with only 24 active cases.

The governor said the relaxed restrictions and the gatherings during the holiday season were among the factors to the recent spike in active cases.