The provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal will escalate to Alert Level 3 from Jan. 5 to 15 due to increasing Covid-19 cases and detected local transmission of the Omicron variant, the Palace announced on Tuesday.

“Due to a sharp increase of Covid-19 cases in the particular localities, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved yesterday, Jan3, 2022, the recommendation of its sub-technical working group on data analytics to escalate Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal to Alert Level 3,” acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

The Philippines on Tuesday recorded 5,434 new Covid-19 cases with a five-month-high 26.5-percent positivity rate.

Nograles earlier said that the IATF would revisit the guidelines for Alert Level 3 areas amid the latest spike in Covid-19 cases.

Intrazonal and interzonal movement remain allowed under Alert Level 3, but vulnerable Filipinos and those under 18 years old are only allowed to avail themselves of essential goods and services.

Also prohibited are contact sports, funfairs, casinos and live voice events.

Allowed at limited capacity are cinemas, social events, tourist attractions, amusement parks, recreational venues, in-person religious gatherings, licensure examinations, dine-in services, personal care services, fitness studios, non-contact sports and government work.

The three provinces will join Metro Manila, which is also under Alert Level 3 until Jan. 15. John Ezekiel J. Hirro