OCTA backs recommendation to place Metro Manila under 'ordinary' GCQ by June 16

Published June 13, 2021, 12:49 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz


Independent research group OCTA on Sunday, June 13, expressed its support for the implementation of an “ordinary” general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila by June 16.

“Sinusupport natin yan (we support that) because at this time gumaganda naman ang situation sa NCR (the situation in the National Capital Region is improving),” OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David said in a Teleradyo interview on Sunday.

On June 10, Malacañang said it is considering more relaxed quarantine restrictions for Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan, also known as the “NCR Plus Bubble,” due to declining COVID-19 cases in these areas.

David noted that the NCR Plus accounted for 27 percent of new infections from June 5 to 11, 2021.

This is a significant improvement from the 94 percent it had recorded during the peak of the surge from March 29 to April 4, he pointed out.

David noted that Metro Manila’s COVID-19 positivity rate is also down to 8 percent, while the reproduction number is at 0.72.

Hospital utilization is also at a “safe level,” below 40 percent, he said.

“Maganda diyan nag-iimprove ang situation so we can take some risks na magbubukas ng businesses tsaka natin so far wala naman tayong nakitang community transmissions sa business establishments (It’s good that the situation is improving so we can take some risks to open businesses and so far we haven’t seen any community transmissions in business establishments),” David said.

“Ibig sabihin yung mga businesses, I think, they are very careful dun sa implementing guidelines nila and this has prevented community transmissions. We trust na they will do the same kapag nag reopen ng certain types of businesses (The businesses, I think, they are very careful in their implementing guidelines and this has prevented community transmissions. We trust that they will do the same when reopening certain types of businesses),” he added.

David attributed the improvement in the situation in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces to the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified ECQ in March and April, as well as the expansion of health care capacity and testing, contact tracing, and isolation efforts.

However, he said the country, particularly Metro Manila, has yet to see the effect of the vaccination rollout to the current COVID-19 situation.

“Kasi sa ngayon hindi pa ganun karami ang na-vaccinate natin to make a big difference sa numbers (As of this time, we haven’t vaccinated that many yet to make a big difference in numbers),” David said.

He reiterated OCTA’s recommendation to vaccinate 40-50 percent of the population in high-risk areas to achieve “population protection” by the end of the year.

“Kapag nagkaroon ng population protection nasa low-risk na lang ang lahat ng areas. Hindi na tataas sa 1,000 cases per day sa buong Pilipinas kapag may population protection na tayo (When there is population protection, all areas are at low-risk to COVID-19. The number of cases will not increase to 1,000 cases per day throughout the Philippines when we have population protection),” he explained.