MANILA - A group of academics monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines said the transmission rate of the disease is increasing in at least 17 areas despite a decreasing trend in the daily number of cases.
The OCTA Research Group, composed of academics from the University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas, in its October 6 report, said the National Capital Region (NCR) remains as the major epicenter of the pandemic in the country.
This, despite the daily number of new cases in NCR decreasing to fewer than 1,000.
The group also said the positivity rate in NCR has decreased to 8 percent, which is still above the World Health Organizations (WHO) ideal rate of 5 percent.
Aside from NCR, the following are considered as high risk areas:
- Benguet (including Baguio City)
- Davao del Sur (including Davao City)
- Iloilo (Including Iloilo City)
- Misamis Oriental (including Cagayan de Oro)
- Negros Occidental (including Bacolod)
- Nueva Ecija
- Pangasinan (including Dagupan)
- South Cotabato (including General Santos)
- Surigao del Sur
- Western Samar
- Zamboanga del Sur (including Zamboanga City)
High risk areas are those with more than 1 percent daily attack rate per 1,000, or those which the current attack rate is greater compared to the previous two weeks, or having a case load of more than 100 over the past two weeks.
The group said that though the situation in NCR has improved, both the national and local governments must still strictly monitor and enforce compliance with minimum health standards.
The government should also intensify its efforts at testing, tracing and isolation to reverse the increase of transmission in high risk areas.
Reverting to a stricter quarantine classification for high risk areas, as well as those areas with limited hospital capacity and increasing number of new cases, may also be considered, the OCTA Research Group added.
As of Thursday, the Philippines has a total of 331,869 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 6,069 deaths, 274,318 recoveries and 51,482 active cases.
The group estimates that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines will reach 380,000 to 410,000 by the end of October.