NCR Plus quarantine easing must hurdle strict criteria

Published May 27, 2021, 2:19 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Despite the downward trend in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, Malacañang said that there are still a lot of factors that should be considered before restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) bubble area can be further relaxed.

Manila Bulletin File Photo

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the OCTA Research team said they continue to see a decline in the COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, with more than 1,000 cases per day and the reproduction number declining to 0.53.

The reproduction number is used to describe the number of people who can get the virus from a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

In his press briefing on Thursday, Roque said that, technically, the numbers suggest the further easing of restrictions but pointed out that there were many things to consider.

“Under existing criteria, that’s generally a basis for relaxation of quarantine classification. But we have to decide considering all factors, including the recommendations of our implementers, our mayors,” he said.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are under the general community quarantine (GCQ) but with heightened restrictions until the end of the month.

Roque said that the new risk classifications for the month of June may be announced on Monday, May 31, by President Duterte himself during his weekly public address, or it may be announced earlier.

In its monitoring report last week, OCTA Research said the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila decreased by 25 percent to 1,299. The group also reported the reproduction number in the NCR was 0.54.

Meanwhile, the OCTA Research said this week that the NCR Plus 8 area may control the spread of COVID-19 by October this year if the vaccination rate will be around 250,000 doses a day.

The NCR Plus 8 consist of Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.