MANILA - Active COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila can reach up to over 500,000 by the end of September if the region remained under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions, the health department said on Wednesday.
According to DOH Epidemiology Bureau Director Alethea de Guzman, this was the result of the projections made by their FASSTER group.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire over the weekend said cases in Metro Manila could still increase up to 30,000 by the end of September even with the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
“For these 2 scenarios, active cases by end of September only range from 19,584 to 31,928 this was in comparison had we maintained NCR only at GCQ with heightened restrictions wherein our active cases will reach 510,268 cases by the end of September,” de Guzman said in a presentation to the House Committee on Health.
She added that the projections were still "conservative."
“As seen here the 2 case scenarios in the lowest portion of the graph have the least number of active cases as of September 30. If we implement either a 4 week ECQ or one week GCQ with heightened restriction followed by 3 weeks of ECQ.” de Guzman added.
Authorities placed Metro Manila under ECQ beginning Friday, August 6 until Aug. 20, mitigate the arrest the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
According to her presentation, the variant has been observed to have a higher transmissibility by 40 to 60 percent compared with the Alpha variant, which first emerged from the United Kingdom.
“This is the projection of cases from July until September 30 where we considered that the Delta variant is 1.6 times faster or 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant.”
DELTA VARIANT IN PH
In her presentation to lawmakers, de Guzman also said that the impact of the Delta variant is now observed nationally and in select regions and areas.
Some provinces and highly urbanized cities are also already showing increase in cases or in health care utilization.
Because of this, she stressed the need to immediately address observed case increases, closely monitor health care utilization, and consider implementing higher quarantine classifications to stem the growth of infections.
De Guzman also reported that at the national level, deaths are declining but there was evident increase in deaths for Central Luzon and Central Visayas.
The National Capital Region and nearby provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, and Cavite — collectively NCR Plus — are showing steep increases in COVID-19 infections.
The rest of Luzon and Visayas, meanwhile, registered a slower case increase, she said, while Mindanao plateaued.
Meanwhile, 23 areas have high to critical health care utilization rate and 12 of these have Delta cases.
- RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News