NCR may ease to MGCQ by October – Lorenzana

Published September 5, 2020, 4:06 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

COVID-19 cases, reproduction rate on downtrend

The National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) may further ease to the less restrictive Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) by October if the pandemic situation further improves, an official of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 said Saturday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (NTF Against COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

NTF Against COVID-19 chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the number of daily infections in the country has been on a downward trend due to the strict implementation of safety protocols.

“Noong nakaraang linggo, ang cases na lumalabas na bago ay 10,000 paakyat, kahapon 3,000 na lang. Ibig sabihin lahat ay nagtatrabaho. Dapat ay ganoon ang gawin natin (Last week, the new reported cases reached 10,000 and up, but yesterday there were only 3,000 cases. It means that everybody is working. That is what we should do),” Lorenzana said in a visit of Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) officials in Caloocan City.

“Ang ating layunin sa buwan na ito ay mag-flatten tayo o mas maganda maibaba natin ang curve para pagkatapos ng buwan ng Setyembre ay makapunta na tayo sa MGCQ at medyo lumuwag-luwag ang buhay ng mga tao (Our goal this month is to flatten or bring down the curve so by the end of September, we can go to MGCQ and help improve the lives of the people),” he added.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), there has been a “decreasing trend” in the number of new cases in the past week.

From August 29 to September 4, the number of new cases ranged from 1,900 to 4,200. In the past week, the lowest reported case was noted on September 3 with 1,987 while the highest was on August 30 with 4,284.

This fared better compared to the data listed in the latter part of July to early part of August where around 5,000 to 7,000 cases were being reported daily.

The DOH also said the positivity rate went down from around 20 percent to 10 percent in September, while the R0 (R naught) or the reproduction rate of the virus decreased from 1.19 in July to less than 1 in September.

In Caloocan City, one of the biggest cities in Metro Manila with a population of 1.6 million, the city’s health department said it has recorded a total of 5,844 cases as of September 4.

Of these 1,298 were considered as active cases (22 percent), 4,367 recoveries (75 percent), and 179 fatalities (three percent).

The positivity rate in Caloocan City also fell from 29 percent in July to 20 percent in September, the city’s health department added.

To boost the response effort of Caloocan City against COVID-19, Lorenzana led the ceremonial turnover of face masks to Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan as part of the “Mask Para sa Masa” campaign. It is an inter-agency cooperation to provide around 30 million domestically manufactured and washable face masks to poor families.

Lorenzana advised the local officials to further improve its testing, tracing, and treatment capabilities to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He also emphasized the importance of the people’s active participation in the fight against COVID-19 by practicing the minimum health standard such as wearing of face mask, face shield, observing social distancing, regular sanitation, and maintaining proper hygiene.

“Ang layunin dito ay makasama lahat, especially ‘yong mga barangay [officials]. Naniniwala kami na ang barangay ang ating frontliner kasi sa hospital, last defense na ‘yun eh, nagkasakit na. Ang frontliner natin ay barangay officials na nagpapatupad ng quarantine protocols (Our goal is to enjoin everybody, especially the barangay officials. We believe that the barangay officials are our frontliners because our hospital workers are our last line of defense, when all are sick. Our frontliners are the barangay officials who implement the quarantine protocols),” Lorenzana said.