MANILA - Metro Manila is past the expected surge of COVID-19 cases following the holidays, the OCTA Research Group said Tuesday.
The independent group of researchers last month saw a spike in virus cases as Filipinos went out to shop and gather for the holidays.
"Yes nakalagpas na tayo. Tumaas ang bilang ng kaso nung first week of January pero dahil 'yan sa testing kasi nung holiday nangalahati ang testing natin so nung biglang pagpasok ng testing dumami nang kaunti ang kaso," OCTA Research fellow Guido David told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(Yes, we're past it. The number of cases increased in the first week of January but this was because our testing during the holidays halved so when it resumed the cases increased.)
"Hindi natin nakita 'yung effect ng holiday surge sa Metro Manila. Pati yung Traslacion parang wala tayong nakitang epekto nito sa pagtaas ng kaso."
(We did not see the effect of the holiday surge in Metro Manila, same with the Traslacion.)
The daily average of virus cases in the capital region remains the same before the holidays at around 400, David said as he noted cases in other regions such as Cebu has increased.
Other areas such as Mt. Province, where the more contagious COVID-19 variant first detected in the UK was recently reported, had doubled its cases in weeks, he added.
"It seems ngayon medyo kumakalat sa kanila, sana makapag-sequence na rin tayo ng cases sa Cebu kasi metropolitan area 'yan. Concerning 'yan kasi mas malaking area 'yan compared sa Mt. Province and Kalinga na isolated," he said.
(It seems the virus is spreading there so we hope we can also conduct genome sequencing on the cases in Cebu because it's a metropolitan area. IT's concerning because it's a larger area compared with Mt. Province and Kalinga which are isolated.)
A strict lockdown, which has since been implemented, will help control the variant spread in Mt. Province, according to the professor.
"'Yung lockdown kasi natin mas mahigpit sa UK o sa ibang Western countries. Usually naman napipigilan nito ang pagkalat at hopefully makocontrol natin ang borders between provinces," he said.
(Our lockdown is tighter than UK or other Western countries and it usually stops the spread of the virus and hopefully we can control our borders between provinces.)
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine is the only way to "restore the economy" and decrease the country's virus cases so it can transition into a modified general community quarantine, David said.
"Kailangan sana medyo mapabilis na natin ang pagrollout nyan para mas makikita natin mas kaunti na ang mahahawaan. At least pag bumababa na ang bilang ng kaso pwede na tayo mag-MGCQ," he said.
(We hope this can be rolled out immediately so we can see fewer cases, which will pave the way for MGCQ.)