MANILA - Metro Manila and nearby Calabarzon are starting to flatten the COVID-19 pandemic curve, a member of an interdisciplinary research group from the University of the Philippines (UP) said Sunday.
The virus reproduction rate in the two regions is estimated at 0.95, below the threshold of "1", indicating it will eventually peter out, according to Dr. Guido David of the UP OCTA Research Team.
"We are seeing the flattening of the curve sa Metro Manila at Calabarzon. Technically, when we say flattening of the curve, we mean yung reproduction number or yung r naught is less than 1. And right now, it is at .95 sa pagsukat natin," he told ABS-CBN News.
(We are seeing the flattening of the curve in Metro Manila and Calabarzon. Technically, when we say flattening of the curve, we mean that that reproduction number or the r naught is less than 1. And right now, it is at .95, based on our measurement.)
The positivity rate in the virus epicenter also declined to 12 percent from 19 percent, he added.
Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces of Rizal, Cavite and Laguna, which belong to the Calabarzon region, as well as Bulacan province of Central Luzon, were placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 4-18 as health workers appealed for a "time out" and a reassessment of the government's strategy to respond to the pandemic.
The restrictions for the said areas were relaxed under the General Community Quarantine classification beginning Aug. 19.
The latest order placed Metro Manila, the provinces of Bulacan and Batangas, and the cities Tacloban and Bacolod under GCQ for the entire month of September, while Iligan City in Lanao del Norte is under MECQ.
Duterte said the rest of the country will remain under modified GCQ for the same period. Although, the province of Lanao del Sur decided recently to revert to MECQ starting Sept. 7.
"Flattening the curve does not mean the pandemic is over. So, we should not let our guard down. We need to sustain it. It could take several months before we could reduce the number of cases down to a very low number," David said.
"Hindi irreversible itong flattening of the curve na ito. It is very, very reversible. The threat is there. Any time, any day, the threat is there. So, kung magpabaya tayo, tapos biglang magkaroon ng surge, it will be problematic."
(Flattening of the curve is not irreversible. It is very ,very reversible. The threat is there. Any time, any day, the threat is there. So if we neglect our gains, we will experience another surge and it will be problematic.)
The Philippines aims to flatten its pandemic curve by the end of the month, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who also serves as chief of the National task Force against COVID-19.
The Philippines as of Sunday reported 237,365 cases of COVID-19, with 184,687 recoveries and 3,875 deaths. It logged its first case on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the new coronavirus is believed to have first emerged.
-- with report from Bettina Magsaysay, ABS-CBN News