The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is set to meet in February to discuss the possible "decoupling" of Covid-19 restrictions from the alert level system.

Health department Officer in Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the meeting, scheduled tentatively for February 1, has been delayed numerous times because of the unavailability of some government agency representatives.

One of the issues to be raised at the IATF meeting is the decoupling of restrictions to the alert level system, which had been proposed by the Department of Health (DoH) to the Office of the President.

The decoupling of restrictions would mean that the alert level system will become a "marker" for local government officials to either increase or decrease their vigilance measures depending on the level of infections.

Vergeire said that the results of the consultations made by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with local government units over the decoupling proposal will also be discussed.

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"We will discuss the consultations made between the DILG and local government units about their capacity to implement safeguards when we decouple our restrictions, as well as our explanation of the safeguards to them," she added in English and Filipino.

She hopes that local government officials would have the "same level of understanding" as the DoH when it comes to decoupling the restrictions to the alert level system.

Vergiere also said that while the Office of the President has not replied "categorically and officially" to its recommendation to extend the state of public health emergency, they believe that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has "indirectly" indicated that he is hesitant to extend it.

"Coming from his statement, we are preparing in parallel so we can continue with the other things that we do for this response," Vergeire said.