UP experts: Assessment every 2 weeks will show if downward trend continues

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — Experts said regular assessment of the country's COVID-19 numbers could show whether a downtrend in cases will continue.

Dr. Butch Ong of the UP OCTA research team said on Tuesday that new cases have steadily gone down since healthcare workers requested for a "time out" in August.

"Before the time out, we had almost 4,500 to 5,000 new cases per day, and then we instituted the MECQ and right after that we began seeing a downtrend sa ating mga [in our] bagong daily new cases," he said.

Ong added, "Ang obserbasyon po namin, sa research group po namin, ay every two weeks nakikita namin yung epekto ng quarantine restrictions... Ibig sabihin, nung humingi yung mga duktor ng time out noong umpisa ng Agosto, two weeks later nakita yung gains nila... The recommendation still follows the two-week observation and monitoring."

[Translation: In our research group's observation, we see the effects of the quarantine restrictions every two weeks... Meaning to say when doctors asked for a time out at the start of August, we saw the gains two weeks later... The recommendation still follows the two week observation and monitoring.]

He said should they see in October that numbers have gone down even futher, then easing quarantine restrictions could be considered.

RELATED: Metro Manila to keep GCQ status until Oct. 31, Lanao del Sur to shift to MECQ

The country's reproduction number, or rate of coronavirus transmission, is now between 0.80 to 0.85 Ong said this means it is now being controlled.

"Ibig sabihin yung infection natin sa komunidad ay bumababa steadily," he said.

[This means the infections in the community are steadily going down.]

Ong said everything pointed towards improvement, but assessing the numbers every two weeks could show if the momentum was being kept. He also warned that the downtrend could change at any time.

Apart from the assessment, Ong said it was important that people still followed minimum health standards, namely the wearing of face masks and face shields, and maintaining physical distancing among these.

"All these minimum health standards have contributed to the decrease in the reproduction number," he said.

He added that the positivity rate in NCR, meaning the number of positive cases for every 100 people tested, has also gone down to 9 percent.

Ong said the target was initially at 10 percent. The World Health Organization's target is 5 percent.

"Papunta na rin tayo doon [We're getting there]," he said.