The OCTA Research group underscored the need to prepare for a possible surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, as it observed a significant increase in the number of daily infections in Metro Manila.
In its latest monitoring report, the independent research group said the reproduction number (R) in the National Capital Region (NCR) soared to 1.15 for the period of July 15 to 21.
“This is an increase of 0.24 from the previous week, when the reproduction number was 0.91. This is a cause for serious concern,” OCTA said.
It noted that the trend in the R over the past week was similar with the trend from February 12 to 19 when the R increased from 1.06 to 1.30.
“That period signified the start of the surge in the NCR,” the group of experts said in their report issued Thursday, July 22.
OCTA reported that the average number of daily new cases in the metropolis climbed by 27 percent to 813 cases for the past week, from 638 cases in the previous week.
“While it is not clear what is driving this increase in new cases without scientific bases, it is best to be cautious and be prepared for a possible surge,” OCTA said.
“The increase in cases is still in its nascent stage, and can still be mitigated with proactive and decisive measures,” it added.
According to the group, these measures may include imposing stricter quarantine status, expanded testing, contact tracing, as well as regional and localized lockdowns.
Experts also recommended that the local governments in NCR “need to urgently increase restrictions” and reduce capacity inside business establishments, lengthen curfew hours, and reduce mobility of children and adolescents.
The public was also urged o strictly adhere to minimum public health standards, reduce non-essential travel and social gatherings, and get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible.
“There is still time to reverse this trend in the NCR. But we need to act collectively, decisively and swiftly,” OCTA said.