Suspension of least stringent quarantine measures ‘timely, responsive’ — OCTA expert

Published February 23, 2021, 5:15 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

OCTA Research expert Dr. Butch Ong said the decision to defer the implementation of modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) nationwide and open up industries is just timely and responsive due to a slight increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in some areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).


“Actually our trend since the first week of January is flat. This means that our number of new cases does not go up and does not go down. But just this weekend we saw a slight increase in the number of new COVID cases in the daily report. We have seen an increase in NCR (National Capital Region), Cebu, Baguio, and northern provinces. So, actually the statement that will not open up or ease the quarantine restriction is just right,” Ong said in Filipino during the Laging Handa public briefing on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

He noted that limiting human mobility significantly helps in reducing the number of COVID-19 cases.

“If you remember, around July last year we had a two-week time-out. At that time, after the two-week time-out our number of cases dropped. So it is a timely decision to minimize the mobility of communities before there is a surge in cases,” Ong explained.

The OCTA expert also cited as one of the factors of increasing COVID-19 cases in the country to the presence of the UK variant, which is more transmissible.

“Well we have seen that, for example in the provinces where the number of cases has increased, in Northern Luzon provinces, Quezon City, and Cebu where it seems the number of B.1.1.7 UK variant cases is high,” Ong said.

“Secondly, there are already a lot of people coming out of the house trying to go back to work. So, your mobility is also a factor. We have the mobility and we have the presence of a variant which is more transmissible,” he added.

Based on OCTA Research Team’s latest report, Ong said Malabon, Pasay City, and Las Piñas City remain under areas of concern due to high COVID-19 cases.

“The other portions in the country like Cebu, the upward trend of Cebu has dropped slightly, so good news in Cebu but still high, their transmission rate is 1.5. Baguio and Kalinga have a 15 percent positivity rate, still high. So, those are the areas we are looking at now,” he added.