MANILA, Jan 7 (Mabuhay) — A total of 14 more cities and provinces will be placed under more stringent Alert Level 3 status from Jan. 9 to 15 as the country hit a three-month high 17,220 new Covid-19 cases, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has agreed to also escalate the following areas to a higher alert level:

* Baguio City in the Cordillera Administrative Region;

* Dagupan City in Region 1 (Ilocos);

* City of Santiago and Cagayan in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley);

* Angeles City, Bataan, Olongapo City, Pampanga and Zambales in Region 3 (Central Luzon);

* Batangas and Lucena City in Region 4-A (Calabarzon);

* Naga City in Region 5 (Bicol);

* Iloilo City in Region 6 (Western Visayas); and

* Lapu-lapu City in Region 7 (Central Visayas).

The 17,220 new infections recorded on Thursday increased the country’s total caseload to 2,888,917.

Health authorities also reported 616 more people getting better, bringing total recoveries to 2,780,613 while 81 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 51,743.

Strictly adhere to protocols

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a prerecorded Talk to the People on Thursday, urged authorities to continue enforcing and the public to continue adhering to minimum public health standards.

“We are reverting back to a stricter quarantine protocol to minimize mobility and exposure of the coronavirus. Our minimum public health standards shall be strictly enforced and violations shall be dealt with accordingly under the law especially under Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Concern Act,” he said.

“To our countrymen, please follow persons in authority who are enforcing the restrictions and public standards. Must ito (This is a must), must obey,” he said.

He also renewed his call to local officials, including barangay (village) captains, to apprehend those who left their homes despite refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Otherwise. you deal with the police or maybe the military on the long stretch,” he added.

Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal are under Alert Level 3 until Jan. 15 while Laguna will also be put under higher alert level from Jan. 7 to 15. (MNS)

READ NEXT: 675K OFWs deployed from Jan. to Nov. 2021 — POEA