Current COVID situation in NCR not enough to downgrade quarantine status by next year —expert

Published December 5, 2020, 4:07 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

An expert from OCTA Research Team said the current COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila is still not enough to downgrade the capital region into the most relaxed quarantine status by next year.


“Sa ngayon, nagkakaroon ng uptick at 400 to 500 cases per day pa. Hindi ito enough para matanggal ang [general community quarantine] sa Metro Manila,” Professor Guido David of the OCTA Research Group said on Saturday.

(For now, we are expecting to see an uptick and there are still 400 to 500 cases per day. This is not enough to remove the GCQ status in Metro Manila.)

David, who is also a professor at the University of the Philippines (UP), said the shift to a modified GCQ is more likely to happen should the average daily case in the NCR is at least 200.

While David said that the current daily cases are still not the “worst case,” he urged the public to not be complacent and continue observing the minimum health protocols to prevent another surge.

“Essentially, pa-flatten na ang curve natin. Noong August, ang average case sa Metro Manila ay 2,000 per day, ngayon ay 400 per day na lang. Ang laki na ng ibinaba natin kaya iniiwasan natin na mag-increase ulit,” he explained.

(The curve in Metro Manila is actually going down. The average daily case last August is at least 2,000 and decreased to 400 now. The cases really decreased and we are avoiding it to rise again.)

To maintain the downward trend in COVID-19 cases not only in NCR but across the country, David recommended limiting the movement of people which is expected to increase especially this holiday season.

“Overcrowding kasi ang ating binabantayan kaya gusto natin na medyo i-limit yung paglabas ng tao kasama na ang mga minors at lalo na ng mga senior citizens na mataas ang case fatality rate,” David said.

(We want to avoid overcrowding so we want to somewhat limit the movement of people, including minors and especially senior citizens, which have a high case fatality rate.)

The university professor also cited a recent study from India which showed that minors actually have “more potential” of spreading the virus.

David further encouraged the public to continue following health protocols such as the proper wearing of face mask ad face shield, observe proper hygiene, and practice physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

“So far, for the past three months, ang nakita nating dahilan kung bakit bumababa ang mga kaso ay dahil sumusunod tayo sa patakaran na ibinibigay ng gobyerno kaya  ngayon ay mas malluwag na tayo,” David said.

(So far, for the past three months, we have seen that the reason why the number of cases is decreasing is that we are following the policy set by the government that is why we are in a more relaxed quarantine status now.)

“Patuloy natin gamitin ang ating mga tools para mapababa ang mga kaso kahit may ineexpect na uptick this holiday season upang pagdating ng January ay hindi na aabot pa sa critical level,” he added.

(Continue to use the tools needed to reduce the cases so even if there will be an expected uptick this holiday season, it will not reach to critical level by January.)

In its latest monitoring report, OCTA said that COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may reach a peak of 500,000 by yearend should the rate of transmission continue to rise.

The research group added that at least 470,000 up to 500,000 total number of cases are expected across the country by Dec. 31, after the reproduction number slightly increased to 0.88 from Nov. 22 to 28, from the previous 0.85 recorded from Nov. 14 to 20.

The OCTA team is an independent and interdisciplinary research group that has been monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines. It is composed primarily of UP faculty members and alumni with contributors from the University of Santo Tomas and Providence College, USA.