MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines may end the year with 480,000 cases of COVID-19 infections based on the current trajectory, hitting the lower end of earlier projections, OCTA research group said Friday.
An earlier monitoring report from the group pegged cases to reach 470,000 to 500,000, but current trends show the lower end is more likely, said Dr. Guido David of the OCTA research team.
"Right now, actually, we are projected to reach the lower end of our projection, which is closer to 470,000. It looks like we’re going to reach something like 475,000 to 480,000 but that is with the current trajectory," he told ANC's Headstart.
"If the situation worsens a little bit, we might get closer to 500,000. But right now, that is not the case," he said.
David said latest data show that the number of cases is decreasing, with less than 2,000 new infections reported everyday nationwide and only about 400 in Metro Manila. However, he said there are indicators that "an uptick might already be starting."
"We don’t have the full details yet because these are just indicators—this could be something that would not transpire—but we would know more by next week if the uptick is continuing to grow. In that case, a surge or at least an uptick might happen in Metro Manila," he said.
The Department of Health on Thursday reported 1,383 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country's total to 445,540.
Despite this, David said the group is not recommending a hard lockdown at the moment, noting that "the situation in Metro Manila is the best it has been...since early August."
He said the group is closely monitoring numbers from the Cagayan region, which was recently devastated by consecutive typhoons and where there was a reported surge in cases.
"The increase in cases in Isabela and Cagayan is most likely attributed to the recent typhoon and we know that it takes about 1 to 2 weeks after an event before we see an increase in cases. That’s what we're seeing now," he said.
"It might not be a long-term situation in Cagayan and Isabela. They’re probably close to managing it and we know that in many provinces, especially those with lower population, they tend to manage surges very quickly," he added, while also noting that more testing needs to be done in these areas.
As Christmastime nears, David echoes calls to limit gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, with activities such as karaoke singing prohibited.
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