Metro Manila, Philippines  — The local chief executives in Metro Manila unanimously voted to downgrade the capital region to Alert Level 1 starting March 1, Metro Manila Council chairperson and Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez confirmed to CNN Philippines on Wednesday.

The recommendation will be sent to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which will issue the final decision.

The mayors met on Tuesday night to come up with a recommendation for the next alert level status in the capital region.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said Alert Level 1 — the lowest classification — will likely be considered as the “new normal” scenario until the state of public health emergency is lifted in the country. He also said the public must still continue observing minimum health standards.

The capital region has been seeing improved COVID-19 trends, with the positivity rate dipping below 5% for the first time this year, according to OCTA Research.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David said Metro Manila will be ready to shift to the “new normal” by March based on its encouraging testing positivity rate, healthcare utilization rate, and ICU bed usage.

Presidential adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon on Monday said the government has to vaccinate 80% of the vulnerable population against COVID-19 before the country eases to Alert Level 1. The government has yet to vaccinate 3 million senior citizens and people with comorbidities.