MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday said the chances of Metro Manila being placed under Alert Level 2 soon is "very high," as the growth in fresh COVID-19 infections continued to slow down.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, however, emphasized that this could only happen if positive efforts on the virus response is maintained in localities.
"'Pag tiningnan natin ang projections ng FASSSTER, patuloy na bababa ang kaso, pero may ginagamit tayo na assumptions when we do our projections… detection to isolation nasa 4 days," Vergeire explained in a public briefing, referring to the disease surveillance system.
(If we look at the projections in FASSSTER, the cases would continue to decline but our assumptions are based also on the detection to isolation of localities, which is at 4 days.)
"'Pag tumaas po 'yan, magkakaroon po tayo ng pagtaas din ng kaso, sana ma-maintain ng lahat para makapagde-escalate tayo ng kaso come November," she added.
(If the gap between detection to isolation increases, then cases could also increase. We hope this gets maintained so we can de-escalate the alert level in Metro Manila come November)
The figures in Metro Manila also continued to improve, she pointed out.
The average daily attack rate (ADAR) is now at 9.87 from 20 at least 3 weeks ago, just as the health capacity is at the safe zone.
ADAR is the number of new cases in a city or province over a two-week period, divided by the population of the city or province.
"Kung titingnan natin, at magtuloy-tuloy ang pagbaba ng kaso at mga tao sa ospital (if we look at these and cases continued to slow and less people are in the hospital), we are seeing that the possibility of being de-escalated to Level 2 is very high," she added.
ABS-CBN Data Analytics head Edson Guido said Metro Manila logged an average of 996 daily new cases in the past 7 days, as of DOH data on Friday.
This is the first time in nearly 3 months that the 7-day average fell below the 1,000-mark, the analyst pointed out.
This also developed after Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing told Teleradyo earlier in the day that the scenario could happen in the coming weeks.
Densing said more people would be able to access commercial establishments under Alert Level 2 as capacity of establishments would further increase. Even children would be allowed to go out, according to the official.
Vergeire on Friday told reporters that the relatively fewer cases logged in recent days is consistent with the positivity rate and admission, which "showed a downward trend."
The slowdown in fresh infections in the past weeks prompted Philippine authorities to ease lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila and other provinces on the second half of the month, as well as the reopening of tourist spots and more establishments.
Some health experts were opposed to the developments, fearing a rebound of new cases within a few months.
Video from PTV