ECQ in Metro Manila effective as COVID-19 outbreak slows

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 22) – As Metro Manila continues to see rise in COVID-19 infections, independent research group OCTA says the two-week hard lockdown just relaxed has helped slow the continued rise in new cases .

In its August 15-21 surveillance report released on Sunday, OCTA said the enhanced community quarantine applied from August 6 to 20 helped reduce the rate of growth of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region. This is the weekly percentage change in the average number of new daily cases.

He said that over the past seven days, the NCR had an average of 3,819 new cases per day. This is an increase of 24% from the previous average of 3,088 recorded from August 8 to 14. OCTA, however, explained that this percentage increase is lower than the 72% one-week growth rate recorded two weeks ago.

The drop is also consistent with a drop in the reproduction rate, or the number of people infected with a single case, according to OCTA.

“In other words, the push has slowed down in the NCR,” he said.

From 1.90 last week, the reproduction rate in Metro Manila fell to 1.67, which is roughly the same figure as the region recorded on April 1 or in the previous outbreak, OCTA pointed out.

“At the time, it took two to three more weeks before new cases of COVID-19 started to decline in the NCR,” he said. “This is probably the best scenario in the NCR.”

On why it could likely take longer this time around, OCTA noted that the current rate of decline in breeding numbers is slower than in April.

One possible explanation for this slower declining trend, the group said, is the presence of the highly transmissible Delta variant. He added that the relatively higher mobility reported by health authorities during the recent ECQ may also be partly to blame.

“Either way, the downward trend in new cases could occur over the next few weeks, but it will require sustained pandemic management efforts over the next four weeks from local and national government and the public, ”OCTA said.

The national government placed Metro Manila under a more relaxed modified ECQ from August 21 to 31.

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