MANILA, the Philippine capital, and nearby cities would remain under Alert Level 1 until March 31, according to the presidential palace.

Thirty-two other areas on the main Luzon island, 10 in the Visayas and five in Mindanao would also remain under the most relaxed lockdown level, presidential spokesman Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Philippines is now at low risk from the coronavirus, health authorities said.

The daily coronavirus infections nationwide averaged at 559, and 162 for Metro Manila, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire told an online news briefing. “All areas, including those under Alert Level 2, are classified as low risk,” she said in Filipino.

She said the government was boosting vaccination efforts in areas under Alert Level 2 so these could ease to Level 1. About 1.4 million people were vaccinated on the fourth run of the government’s special vaccination drive against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Ms. Vergeire said about 6.5 million seniors and 8.8 million seriously ill people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while 1.9 million have received booster shots.

She said 1.23 million kids aged 5 to 11 and 9.7 million children aged 12 to 17 have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ms. Vergeire said the Philippines had yet to record a case of Deltacron, a hybrid strain that combines both the Delta and Omicron variants. “The public should not worry because currently, we have yet to record a case of Deltacron, which is not yet considered as a variant of concern.”

“This is a transitional stage where we can go to the next level or to this new regime of alert level system. Alert Level 0 is not a final term yet,” she added.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III earlier said authorities might do away with the lockdown amid decreasing infections. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza