OCTA: COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila 'improved', but bed occupancy rates still 'high'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 23) — The COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila "improved" after over three weeks of tighter restrictions, OCTA fellow Guido David said Friday, although it might be too early to celebrate as hospital admissions remain "high."

In early April, Metro Manila's daily average of new cases sharply rose to almost 8,000, Guido told a webinar.

But for the past seven days, the daily average went down to around 4,200, he said, which is 11% percent lower than the week before, he noted.

"This is very good news...for the National Capital Region and it shows we have made significant gains over the past three weeks. What we hope to do is to sustain these gains," Guido said.

Fourteen of the 17 local governments in the region had a one-week negative growth rate in new cases, although NCR hospitals' COVID-19 bed utilization rates remain "high," with 14 LGUs logging over 60%, Guido added.

He also said Metro Manila started to log a reproduction number or R0 of below 1 from April 16 to 22 after having over 1 since March 11. The R0 is the number of people to whom an infected person can pass the virus.

For her part, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the positivity rate in the region has dropped to 18.3% from the previous 20.4%. This is the percentage of people who test positive for the virus out of all those who have been tested.

"18.3% [is] just for NCR. Kung buong bansa, mas mababa po iyan," she told a briefing.

[Translation: 18.3% is just for NCR. If we talk of the whole country, the rate is lower.]

She said many factors contributed to the drop in the number of infected people including stricter quarantine and strengthened pandemic response. She asked for everyone's cooperation to finally stop the further spread of the coronavirus.

NCR Plus or Greater Manila which is composed of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal transitioned to a more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine on April 12 after being placed under the strictest ECQ for two weeks due to an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases.

The Greater Manila area, as well as the provinces of Quirino and Abra, and Santiago City in Isabela are under the MECQ until April 30.