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This Week in Metro Manila (December 18 to 24, 2021)

A better holiday awaits as Metro Manila remains at “low risk” despite detecting new Omicron cases.

By: Denisse Shawntel Tan | December 18, 2021
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Due to the “low risk” level in Metro Manila, Christmas 2021 is less restrictive compared to last year. For lockdown news, despite the health threat of the Omicron variant, the OCTA Research group concurred that lockdown news is less likely to happen again in Metro Manila because the Philippines has reached a substantial population immunity versus COVID-19.

However, the national health bureau still encourages companies to hold virtual Christmas parties despite the lack of lockdowns. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) maintains the PUV capacity for the Christmas season when it comes to transportation.

Lockdown News: Metro Manila in low probability for another lockdown—OCTA Research group

Despite the threat of the Omicron variant, the OCTA Research group said that it’s less likely that another lockdown will be in effect in the National Capital Region (NCR) due to the low average daily cases for COVID-19 over the past few weeks compared to those of last year [1]. In addition to the low admission rate in hospitals also helped that the NCR has a vaccination rate above 80%.

No lockdown news was announced in Metro Manila on December 14.

Taguig LGU requires a permit for Christmas parties and events establishments.

In an advisory, Taguig City local government unit (LGU) announced that establishments would need to present permits to hold events and Christmas parties for the holiday season, even if NCR is not under any lockdown [2]. According to the Taguig Safe City Task Force Advisory No.60, permits are also needed for religious gatherings, parties, gatherings, bazaars, and fireworks displays in the city.

In addition, allowed establishments can operate at 50% of their venue capacity for indoor seating and 70% for outdoors. All staff who will be working in events must also be fully vaccinated. Organizers or establishments who will be submitting their plans to secure permits can visit the Taguig Safe City Task Force website:

As for the entire country, health experts also encouraged companies to conduct virtual Christmas parties instead [3].

Transportation News: PUVs are still at 70% capacity for the holiday season.

The LTRB announced that public utility vehicles would remain at 70% capacity for Christmas. In a memorandum issued last December 14, LTFRB indicated that the same vehicle transportation capacity would be from December 9 to January 4, 2022 [4] for road-based PUVs in Metro Manila and Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, and Rizal. As for areas with a vehicle capacity of 50%, LTFRB said public transportation could be increased to 70% if the area has a vaccination rate above 30%. PUVs heading to Metro Manila must follow the seating capacity from the place of origin; transportation from Metro Manila should follow the endpoint’s capacity. Health protocols are still in effect.

MMFF 2021 will be via Pasig River Ferry Service

Instead of the usual motorcade, this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival will hold a fluvial parade on December 19 along Pasig River [5]. It means that motorists and public transportations will no longer expect the usual traffic and reroutes during the film festival. The parade will start from Pinagbuhatan Pasig to Escolta. The entire route will be from Guadalupe Ferry Station to C-5 Bagong Ilog, making a U-turn at Pasig City then Makati Circuit.

Health News: The Philippines reached substantial population immunity.

Despite the ease of restrictions, the Philippines have reached a substantial population immunity against COVID-19. According to the OCTA Research group fellow Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, the Philippines now have low hospitalization numbers over the last 20 months. Currently, the daily cases are only 500 [6].

Hospitals in Metro Manila are also recently announcing that they have no admitted COVID-19 patients. These results were due to the vaccination efforts of LGUs and lockdowns.

Austriaco also noted that the Philippines have better conditions than Malaysia and Thailand. While the health battle against the virus is still not over, Austriaco is confident that the country can withstand surges if locals practice basic safety health protocols.

DOH detects Omicron variant in the Philippines

The Department of Health confirmed on December 15 that the Philippines now has two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to their press release last December 15. International travelers from Japan and Nigeria detected the two Omicron cases. Both are currently asymptomatic. DOH is still monitoring the results of other passengers that shared the same flight with the two individuals.

Omicron is a more contagious variant of COVID-19; it has a higher transmission rate than Delta.

Visit Yoorekka Magazine for more travel and COVID-19 updates and guidelines in Metro Manila!

All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation develops rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.


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About Denisse Shawntel Tan
Denisse Tan is currently a work in progress: she’s an aspiring writer, artist, and fashion designer! She’s trying to figure out how to manage her time in achieving all of her goals while also taking in life as humanly possible. Aside from art, she’s a big fan of the color pink, disco music, Bratz dolls, and Genshin Impact. By age 35, she plans to travel to New York City 🗽.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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