The Philippines will remain under Alert Level 2 from Jan. 1 to 15, the Palace announced on Thursday.

In a press statement, acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said the country’s pandemic task force had approved the proposal to retain the entire Philippines under Alert Level 2.

The country also added Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Spain under its “red list.”

The Philippines on Thursday recorded 1,623 new Covid-19 cases as it tested 30,933 individuals, which is the most number of new cases since Nov. 21 and the highest positivity rate (6.6 percent) since Oct. 31.

The Christmas season surge saw Covid-19’s reproduction rate in Metro Manila increase from 0.51 to a “critical” 1.47, just after the region was under very low and moderate risk, according to the OCTA Research Team.

The Philippines has fully vaccinated over 48 million individuals while having over 57 million partially vaccinated individuals.

The country has recorded its first cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which is more transmissible than normal strains. John Ezekiel J. Hirro