MANILA — The Philippines' caseload of coronavirus infections could breach the 1 million-mark by the end of April, an independent research group said on Monday, as the Greater Manila area entered its second week under the strictest quarantine level.
The OCTA research group said that the spread of the virus has "started to slow down" in some cities in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the outbreak, but other parts of the region are tallying "rapid increases" of new COVID-19 cases.
"Before the end of April, the Philippines is expected to have recorded more than 1 million total COVID-19 cases," the group said in a report.
Metro Manila and the surrounding Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal provinces are under enhanced community quarantine from March 29 until April 4.
The ECQ brought down the reproduction number or the average number of people infected by one person to 1.6 from 1.9, said OCTA Research fellow Guido David.
"Iyong reproduction number, we will have to see how fast it decreases. Pero right now, ang trajectory is we're seeing maybe 1.3 or 1.2 by the end of this coming week," he said in a televised public briefing.
(As for the reproduction number, we will have to see how fast it decreases. But right now, the trajectory is we're seeing maybe 1.3 or 1.2 by the end of this coming week.)
The Philippines might continue recording 11,000 to 12,000 new coronavirus infections daily "for the next week or so, until we see a downward trend," he added.
OCTA's Dr. Butch Ong urged the public to stay home and go out only when needed, while the healthcare utilization rate remained at critical level.
The Philippines has tallied 795,051 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday.
Extended coronavirus curbs will continue to hurt the Philippines' economy, which posted a record 9.5 percent slump last year. – With a report from Reuters