Prioritize inoculation of Metro Manila, Calabarzon residents amid surge: OCTA

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2021 05:54 PM

Prioritize inoculation of Metro Manila, Calabarzon residents amid surge: OCTA 1
People visit stalls in Divisoria in Manila on March 20, 2021, the same day health authorities tallied 7,999 cases of COVID-19, the highest so far. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Prioritizing inoculation in Metro Manila and nearby areas where there are rising cases of COVID-19 may help lower the virus infection rate, OCTA Research Group said Sunday.

Government earlier said it aims to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos this year to achieve herd immunity.

“I-priority ang NCR (National Capital Region), kasi we’re undergoing a surge here. Medyo malayo pa pero possible kayanin this year kung i-prioritize and Calabarzon, 'andito trade capital and economic center eh, pag nakontrol natin NCR, makokontrol natin pandemic sa buong Philippines,” OCTA Research fellow Guido David said.

(Prioritize NCR because we're undergoing a surge here. Also Calabarzon. The trade and economic center is here, if we control virus cases in NCR, we can control the pandemic in the whole country.)

Local chief executives should also be among the prioritized frontliners, added former Philippine Medical Association President Dr. Leo Olarte.

The Philippines may reach the 10,000 daily COVID-19 cases by April, the independent research group earlier warned.

"We will reach some kind of boiling point sa hospitals natin (in our hospitals), they cannot admit COVID patients and they might not be able to admit non-COVID patients, lets see, baka nga conservative pa yan (the estimate might be conservative)," David said.

A change in the trend of virus cases may come during Holy Week, David said.

“Pag bumaba ang density sa NCR, pwede ma-reduce yung mobility, talagang possible ma slow down ang pandemic curve natin,” he said.

(If NCR's density and mobility are reduced, it can also slow down the pandemic curve.) 

David also pointed out, the government’s lax implementation of protocols on international travel paved the way for the increasing cases of the UK, South African and recently detected P3 COVID variant.

A strict travel ban or another round of enhanced community quarantine is not needed either. He also admits, the recent proposal on the ‘Hard GCQ’ and ‘Soft MECQ’ has caused confusion among the public.

“Confusing ang additional terminology and kung dadagdagan pa natin, let's focus na lang on what the ordinances are, what's allowed and not allowed,” he stressed.

(Additional terminology will be confusing, let's focus on what the ordinances are, what's allowed and not allowed.)

“Isipin natin lahat may virus, how do we act kung ganun yung assumption natin, we have to act accordingly, kaya natin yung sakit hindi ma-itransmit,” he urged. 

(Let's think everyone has the virus, how do we act if that's our assumption. We have to act accordingly so we don't transmit the disease.)

According to Philippine National Police spokesperson P/BGen Ildebrandi Usana, they expect public movement and travel to lessen even during the Holy Week due to the rising COVID cases.

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