OCTA analyst proposes another ECQ week in 'NCR Plus' amid record-high COVID-19 deaths

John Gabriel Agcaoili, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 09 2021 11:00 PM

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OCTA analyst says COVID-19 deaths will continue to rise in PH

MANILA - An analyst of independent research group OCTA on Friday recommended extending the enhanced community quarantine level in "NCR Plus" to another week, after the Philippines logged a record-high in COVID-19 deaths.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David said that even as the virus reproduction rate is slowing down in the "NCR Plus" bubble-- which consists of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal -- another extension of ECQ will bring down the number of infections.

"Siyempre, 'pag public health 'yung consideration lang natin ... ang recommendation natin is i-extend 'yung ECQ para mapababa 'yung reproduction number to less than 1," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

According to David, the reproduction number in the bubble has gone down to 1.24, from Wednesday's 1.43.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases last Saturday decided that the bubble would stay under ECQ for another week "at least" to curb a surge in COVID-19 infections. 

The strictest quarantine level has been implemented for nearly two weeks, since March 29.

The Philippines' health department reported earlier Friday a record-high 401 COVID-19 deaths, more than half of which have been reclassified, with active infections also reaching an all-time high at over 178,000.

The country also reported 12,225 new COVID-19 cases, the third-highest daily tally since the pandemic onset, according to the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group. 

To date, the Philippines has confirmed 840,554 coronavirus infections with 14,520 fatalities and 647,683 recoveries.

David warned that the death toll will still rise in the country as long as infections continue to soar.

"Dati pa namin 'yang sinasabi na ... 'pag tumaas 'yung cases, tataas talaga 'yung deaths kasi tumataas 'yung base number natin. Kahit hindi tumataas 'yung mortality rate, kahit sabihin natin fixed siya ... dadami talaga 'yung deaths. Marami talaga 'yung mamamatay," he said.

David said that if the Philippines continues to log at least 10,000 COVID-19 additional cases daily, it will also register 200 deaths due to the virus per day.

"Pwede pa tumaas 'yan, pwede pa humigit 'yan," he said.

David however noted the COVID-19 situation has improved in the country, compared to late March.

Based on the Department of Health's data, intensive care units in Metro Manila are 80 percent filled while isolation beds have also reached 72 percent capacity. Sixty-three percent of ICU beds nationwide are likewise occupied, while half of the isolation beds are currently in use. 

For the past week, the Philippines has been reporting record-high cases and deaths.

The OCTA Research Group estimates that the total number of cases in the country will reach 1 million by the end of April.

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