Malacañang on Wednesday rebuffed calls to scrap the alert level system in Metro Manila, saying it was not yet time to remove restrictions entirely amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interviewed over ANC’s “Headstart,” acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said the government would remain vigilant of coronavirus mutations.

“[T]he health experts will tell you that we hope na the Delta [variant] would be the last variant of concern na deadly and hopefully the next mutations will go the way of Omicron – meaning to say kahit na more transmissible, less fatal siya for the fully vaccinated,” he said.

“[W]e have to see, tingnan muna natin kung iyan ba iyong direksyong patutunguhan ng any further mutations or further variants of interest or variants of concern. That being said, hindi pa natin puwedeng tanggalin iyong alert level system,” he added.

Nograles however said that the government was open to downgrading areas to Alert Level 1.

To deescalate to Alert Level 1, Nograles said more than 70 percent of senior citizens and people with co-morbidities should be vaccinated, and establishments should secure “safety seals” for protection against Covid-19.

The Philippines has administered over 127 million Covid-19 vaccines as of Feb. 1.

It has recorded 160,297 active Covid-19 cases as of Feb. 2. John Ezekiel J. Hirro