MANILA (UPDATE) - The strict lockdown imposed in Metro Manila and nearby provinces was "effective" and the COVID-19 trend in the capital region might decline by next week, OCTA Research Group said Monday.
President Rodrigo Duterte has eased restrictions in the NCR Plus bubble to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) beginning Monday after a 2-week ECQ.
The capital region's COVID-19 reproduction rate has slowed down to 1.24 from 1.88 following the 14-day strict lockdown, according to OCTA Research fellow Guido David.
"Effective naman ang ECQ kasi nakita nating bumaba ang reproduction number sa NCR...Di pa masasabing nagfa-flatten na ang curve kasi 1.24 pa ang reproduction number pero may ilang lungsod sa Metro Manila na pababa na katulad ng Pasay at Marikina bumababa na ang cases doon," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We can see the ECQ was effective because the reproduction number in NCR declined...We can't say the curve is flattening because the reproduction number is 1.24 but there are some cities in Metro Manila where the number of cases is declining, like Pasay and Marikina.)
"Nakikita natin magpapatuloy ang trend, we're hoping bumababa na siya to 1 by next week, by Sunday."
(We can see the trend will continue, we're hoping it will decline to 1 by next week, by Sunday.)
ECQ EFFECT TO REFLECT IN 2 WEEKS: DOH
The Department of Health, however, said the effect of the ECQ would reflect "2 weeks from now."
"The hope would be because of all of these measures that we are doing, in about 2 weeks’ time we will see the decline in the number of cases," DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire told ANC.
Government decided to ease the bubble's quarantine following a cost-benefit analysis from the National Economic and Development Authority, Vergeire said.
"So we can be able to manage better and focus our response to other sectors where people are losing income and do not have money anymore to buy food, she said.
"(Just) because we shifted to MECQ that we’re not going to implement measures, we’re stepping up measures in different response strategies we are having and local governments are stepping up their efforts."
Guido urged the public to continue observing health protocols as the new COVID-19 variants were more infectious.
"Mas malala itong spike na ito, umabot na tayo ng 5,000 cases sa NCR. Nung August, 2,000 cases lang, 2,400, hindi tayo lumagpas ng 3,000 sa NCR," he said.
(This spike in cases was worse, we reached 5,000 daily average cases in NCR. In August, we only had 2,000, 2400 cases, we did not exceed 3,000 cases in NCR.)
"Nakita natin mas maraming nahawa din na 0-17 (years old), ang
dahil dito nga sa nakikita natin, 'yung mga variant, mas nakakahawa sila at mas infectious pati sa mga minor."
(We also saw more 0-17 years old infected with COVID-19, which may be due to the variants, which are more infectious even to minors.)
The Philippines on Sunday reported 11,681 more COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 864,868. Of this figure, 146,519 or 16.9 percent are active infections.
It is forecast to reach 1 million virus cases by the end of the month, OCTA Research earlier said.