OCTA: ECQ in Metro Manila effective as COVID-19 surge slows down

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 22) — While Metro Manila is still seeing a rise in COVID-19 infections, the independent OCTA Research group says the just-relaxed two-week hard lockdown helped slow the ongoing surge in new cases.

In its monitoring report for Aug. 15 to 21 released Sunday, OCTA said the enhanced community quarantine enforced from Aug. 6 to 20 helped reduce the COVID-19 growth rate in the national capital region. This refers to the weekly percentage change in the average number of new daily cases.

It said that in the last seven days, the NCR averaged 3,819 new cases per day. This is a 24% rise from the previous average of 3,088 logged from Aug. 8 to 14. OCTA explained, however, that this percentage increase is lower than the 72% one-week growth rate recorded two weeks ago.

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

“In other words, the surge has slowed down in the NCR,” it said.

From last week's 1.90, the reproduction rate in Metro Manila has dropped to 1.67, which is around the same figure the region recorded on April 1, or during the previous surge, OCTA pointed out.

“Back then, it took two to three more weeks before new COVID-19 cases started to decrease in the NCR," it said. "This is likely the best-case scenario in the NCR."

On why it could probably take longer this time, OCTA noted the current rate of decrease in the reproduction number is slower than that in April.

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

"In any case, the downward trend in new cases may happen in the next few weeks, but this will require sustained efforts in pandemic management over the next four weeks by the local and national government and the public," OCTA said.

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