THERE are now three provinces, two major cities, and 37 component municipalities and cities under Alert Level 1 in Eastern Visayas, the regional health department said Monday, May 2, 2022.

From May 1 to May 15, the provinces of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, and the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban will keep their Alert Level 1 status.

According to the Department of Health (DOH) regional office, Matalom town in Leyte has been added by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to the roll of component municipalities in the region under the lowest alert level status.

The provinces of Leyte, Northern Samar, and Western Samar have been placed under the stricter Alert Level 2.

“Alert Level classifications of component cities and municipalities not otherwise affected by this IATF update shall remain in effect until May 15, 2022,” the DOH said.

The DOH maintained that the de-escalation of the alert level system in each province or local government (LGU) unit is still based on the following criteria: case transmission is low and decreasing; total bed utilization is less than 50 percent; 70 percent of the area’s target population has been fully vaccinated; and 70 percent of the area’s A2 (senior citizens) population have been fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, May 2, the region’s total number of Covid-19 cases was 62,104, with total recoveries of 61,420 (98.90 percent) and total deaths of 668 (1.08 percent), bringing the total active cases to 16 (0.03 percent).

“With the downgraded alert level status in the different parts of the region and the gradual decline of our Covid-19 cases in the region, let us continue to be vigilant and practice the minimum public health standards in all settings,” the DOH said.

“As we go through a more lenient implementation of our border restrictions which causes our mobility to increase, it is very important to still practice our health protocols,” it added.

Health officials maintained that vaccines are still the public’s best defense against the virus and its variants.

“Get vaccinated and boosted for a strengthened community protection,” it said. (SunStar Philippines)