DOH clarifies PH risk classification metrics in the midst of Level 3 classification from US-CDC

DOH clarifies its risk classification metrics based on national healthcare capacity after US-CDC classified the Philippines as a Level 3 destination due to COVID-19.

In light of the US-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (US-CDC) Travel Health Notice on the Philippines as a Level 3 destination due to its "high-level" of COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) clarifies its risk classification metrics based on national healthcare capacity.

Compared to the metrics used by the US-CDC, the Philippines uses a different set of metrics to determine COVID-19 risk classifications in the country. 

Their metrics alert travelers to global health threats and advise how to avoid becoming infected. The US-CDC metrics are based on the number of cases reported in the previous 28 days per 100,000 people, triangulated with testing data (which pertains to both testing rate and test-to-case ratio).

In the Philippines, the focus on healthcare system capacity is in addition to using the Average Daily Attack Rate (ADAR) in the last two weeks. In determining Alert Levels for specific areas of the country, DOH considers the total bed utilization rate and vaccination coverage. Currently, the country is classified as low risk in terms of ADAR and total bed utilization rate. 

Regarding travel restrictions, the Department also reiterates that we have aligned our metrics with most other countries. According to Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 168, series of 2022, we permit foreign nationals to enter the country if they can demonstrate that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Our current situation differs significantly from the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, when risk classifications were used to restrict border entry into countries, particularly for leisure travelers. Almost all borders are now open around the world. The DOH emphasizes the importance of a stronger vaccination campaign to build and reinforce our country's immune wall.

"With an increase in COVID-19 cases, it is critical that we keep Filipinos safe and protected against severe and critical forms of the disease. The Department reiterates that vaccination, combined with strict adherence to minimum public health standards, is critical to preventing further virus transmission," DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said.

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