MANILA - The Philippines may experience a downward trend in new coronavirus infections in the next 2 weeks, a group of experts said Tuesday, as Metro Manila and 4 nearby provinces remain under stricter quarantine restrictions.
"We're hoping that the downward trend will happen within 2 weeks but that doesn’t mean we have contained this," Dr. Guido David of OCTA Research Group told ANC.
The capital region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal may still log at least 4,000 cases per day by then, he added.
"Nationally, we could be at around 9,000 to 10,000 cases per day around the end of April. To reduce that to 50 percent would require about 30 days because that's how we see it in the past," Guido said.
The OCTA Research Group noted that the COVID-19 reproduction rate has slowed down to 1.24 from 1.88 following the reimposition of 2-week enhanced community quarantine in the Greater Manila area.
The reproduction rate of a virus is a measure of its transmission or the number of new infections generated by each case.
The group also observed negative growth rates in the cities of Pasay, Mandaluyong, and Marikina.
"It's just a 1-week negative growth rate. It gives us confidence that what we are doing is working but it should not give us confidence that it already worked and it's all finished [and] that we just go back to our normal lives," David said.
"It just means that we have a lot of work to do to continue this momentum to try to decrease the numbers even further because 5,000 cases per day in NCR is a lot of cases," he added.
While the OCTA Research Group recommends an extension of ECQ as hospitals are overrun with COVID-19 patients, David said they understood the government's decision of easing the restriction to MECQ.
"It's more of a middle ground. At least, it's not GCQ (general community quarantine)... But our hope is that this will continue the decrease in our reproduction number," he said.
From April 12 to 30, the so-called NCR Plus bubble will be under MECQ -- the third strictest of 4 lockdown levels. Similar restriction was also imposed in Santiago City in Isabela, Quirino province, and Abra.