Placing the entire Philippines under the least stringent modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status could push Metro Manila’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases to 2,400 per day by March 26, the OCTA Research Team warned in a study released on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
“The proposal to shift NCR (National Capital Region) to MGCQ by March 2021 amidst the backdrop of a more contagious and lethal UK variant spreading in the regions is not just risky but also contrary to sensible epidemic management,” the group pointed out.
The experts noted that the NCR had 2,400 cases per day in August 2020 when the pandemic became “unmanageable,” pushing the metropolis to be placed under a stricter quarantine to curb COVID-19 transmissions.
“If restrictions in NCR are relaxed to very loose levels, the region will be under a constant threat of a surge due to the increased mobility of people, reduced social distancing and diminished compliance with health protocols, as was observed at the outset of the December holidays,” it added.
OCTA researchers appealed to the national government to defer the proposal of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to ease age restriction and place the entire country under a less stringent community quarantine status by March 1.
“The NCR will need more time to improve its health indicators beyond the proposed March 2021 proposed period of implementation by NEDA,” the group said.
“The NCR needs to be prepared not just in terms of resources but also in terms of systems and an expanded capacity to do testing, effective tracing, and supportive isolation in preparation for a possible surge in cases. These systems must be in place before we ease restrictions, especially in high-risk areas,” it added.