Iloilo City stays under Alert Level 1 until Mar 31

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City and four other areas in Western Visayas will remain under Alert Level 1 from March 16 to 31, 2022, according to acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar on Tuesday evening.

Aklan, Bacolod City, Capiz, and Guimaras will also remain under the most permissive alert level for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rest of the region (Antique, Iloilo province, and Negros Occidental) are under Alert Level 2.

The city’s retention under Alert Level 1 came on the heels of the Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development’s (DOH-WV CHD) report on Monday, March 14, that the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Region 6 continue to go down.

Region 6 only detected 358 new cases on March 6 to 12, or a 3 percent positivity rate out of 11,010 individuals tested during the same period.

This indicates a downtrend in the region’s overall positivity rate from 5 percent (Feb. 27 to March 5), and 12 percent (Feb. 20 to 26 and Feb. 13 to 19).

The most recent number of people tested (11,010) is also even higher than in the last two-week periods (10,869 on Feb. 27 to March 5; and 10,520 on Feb. 20 to 26).

Guimaras currently has the highest positivity rate (8.33 percent), followed by Antique (6.76 percent), Capiz (4.81 percent), Iloilo province (3.84 percent), Iloilo City (2.68 percent), Bacolod City (2.38 percent), Negros Occidental (1.58 percent), and Aklan (1.47 percent).

DOH-WV CHD spokesperson John Richard Lapascua said the data reflects the region’s general status as “Low Risk” to COVID-19.

“We have seen that the positivity rate [in Western Visayas] has gone down. In a four-week period, the number of people tested is the same, but the number of people testing positive has gone down,” Lapascua said in an online briefing.

Western Visayas is under Minimal Risk for COVID-19, except for Guimaras and the city and province of Iloilo, which are under Low Risk.

Alert Level 1 means maximized loosening of COVID restrictions.

The guidelines state that under the lowest alert level, private offices and workplaces, including public and private construction sites, may operate at full 100 percent capacity, consistent with national issuances on vaccination requirements for on-site work.

But they may continue to provide flexible and alternative work arrangements as deemed appropriate based on function or individual risk.

Public transportation in areas under Alert Level 1 shall be at full seating capacity, but in a case of intra-zonal travel, it should follow where the capacity is lower.

Persons who are 18 years old and above will be required to prove being fully vaccinated before participating in mass gatherings or entry into indoor establishments, such as but not limited to:

  • In-person religious gatherings; gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 and for the cremains of the COVID-19 deceased;
  • All indoor dine-in services of food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries. For outdoor or al fresco dining and take out channels, no proof of full vaccination is required;
  • All indoor personal care establishments such as barbershops, hair spas, hair salons, and nail spas, and those offering aesthetic/cosmetic services or procedures, make-up services, salons, spas, reflexology, and other similar procedures including home service options;
  • Fitness studios, gyms, and venues for exercise and sports;
  • All indoor cinemas or movie houses operating at full capacity;
  • Meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibition events, and permitted venues for social events such as parties, wedding receptions, engagement parties, wedding anniversaries, debut and birthday parties, family reunions, and bridal or baby showers ;
  • Venues with live voice or wind-instrument performers and audiences such as in karaoke bars, clubs, concert halls, and theaters;
  • Indoor ancillary establishments in hotels and other accommodation establishments; and
  • Venues for election-related events.

Children below 17 years old will not be required to present proof of full vaccination.

Establishments will still be required to implement Minimum Public Health Standards, and install and maintain hand hygiene and sanitation facilities throughout their premises.


Meanwhile, the Iloilo City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (ICESU)’s latest data indicated that the city has logged 113 cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Omicron variant this year as of March 12.

Almost all of the COVID Omicron cases in the city were local cases with 95 percent (107), with the remaining being Returning Overseas Filipinos (4), Locally-Stranded Individual (1), and 1 yet to be verified.

As to the presence of their symptoms, 60 presented Influenza-Like Illnesses, while 50 were asymptomatic, 2 had Severe Acute Respiratory Infection, and the remaining 1’s symptoms yet to be verified.

More than half were non-Health Care Workers with 70 or 62 percent of the total number, while the remaining 38 or 43 percent were of Health Care Workers.

Based on their areas of residence, 39 are from Jaro, 37 are from Mandurriao, Molo and La Paz have 11 each, 8 are from Arevalo, 6 are from City Proper, while 1 is yet to be verified.

There were also more cases among females (70) than males (43).

The highest incidence is among females who are aged between 21 to 30 years old (25), followed by females aged 31 to 40 (16), and males aged 21 to 30 (15).

But there are also cases among infants, with 2 females and 1 male below the age of 1 year old recorded.

The Omicron variant is currently considered as one of the most contagious variants of COVID-19, with over 1 million cases worldwide, and 1,303 cases in the country as of March 14 according to data platform Statista.