MANILA—Coronavirus infections are spreading exponentially in the Philippines, a pandemic analyst warned Friday, saying daily cases could reach up to 19,000 if the upward trend will continue.
Prof. Jomar Rabajante, of the University of the Philippines COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, said in a Teleradyo interview that the country was seeing a resurgence of coronavirus that could be fueled by the more contagious Delta variant.
The Philippines has a positivity rate of more than 20 percent, which means that 1 out of 5 tested was positive for the virus, he said.
Nationwide figures for the reproduction number or daily growth estimate in COVID-19 cases in the country are also estimated to be more than 1, Rabajante said. This means on average each infected person will infect one other person they come in contact with.
"Ibig sabihin, nakikita natin na exponential ang pag-increase ng kaso sa Pilipinas," he said.
(This means that [COVID-19] cases in the Philippines increasing exponentially.)
According to his group's projections, the Philippines will continue to experience an increase of COVID-19 cases in the next few days as the effect of the hard lockdown will not be felt immediately.
"Posibleng pumalo sa mga susunod na mga araw ng 13,000, 14,000 ang cases natin," he said.
(We could reach 13,000, 14,000 cases in the next few days.)
"Meron kaming projection na in just a few days, posibleng umabot tayo ng mga 18,000, 19,000 if this trend will continue," he added.
(We have projection that in just a few days, we might reach 18,000, 19,000 cases if this trend will continue.)
Metro Manila, home to more than 13 million people, returned to enhanced community quarantine last August 6 to curb the spread of the Delta variant. The lockdown will stay until Augist 20.
Laguna, Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro are also under the strictest quarantine level while Cavite, Lucena City, Rizal and Iloilo province are under modified ECQ.
The Delta variant was first identified in India and has become the dominant strain of coronavirus in the world. It is supposedly "60 to 100 percent" more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain from Wuhan, China.
On Thursday, the health department reported 177 new Delta cases, raising the country's tally to 627. Of the figure, 597 have recovered, 13 have died while 13 are currently infected with the strain.
With over 1.7 million coronavirus infections and more than 29,000 deaths, the Philippines has the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. It currently has 87,663 active cases of COVID-19.
Rabajante called on the government to "not just focus" its interventions in the capital region as most infections were reported in other provinces.
He said the government should also accelerate its vaccination rollout in other areas such as Cebu and Davao aside from Metro Manila.
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