Easing restrictions in NCR may slow down COVID-19 case decrease

MANILA, Philippines –The Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday that the number of active Covid-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) might drop to 10,000 by the end of October if the granular lockdown alert system is maintained at Alert Level 4.

The number of cases in the NCR showed a downward trend from 3,126 cases from September 27 to October 3 to 1,989 cases from October 4 to 10. This is due to the existing Alert Level System in place in NCR.

“The NCR showed a slow downward trend, with reported cases decreased by 36 percent compared to the previous seven days,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

The department also saw a decrease in the use of Covid-19 beds in the past weeks.

“If our detection to isolation time is maintained at four days, active cases in the NCR may decrease to 10,000 cases by October 31 if Alert Level 4 is continued while we may expect about 13,471 to 14,672 active cases when Alert Level 3 will be imposed,” Usec. Vergeire said.

Under continued Alert Level 4 and the four-day detection to isolation period, severe and critical cases might drop to 527 to 849 cases by the end of the month, per Vergeire.

Meanwhile, if the NCR is de-escalated to Alert Level 3, 703 to 1,235 severe and critical cases are expected to increase.

“However, if detection to isolation time increases again, severe, and critical cases may decrease to 616 to 992 cases by October [31], if Alert Level 4 is continued, and may increase to 855 to 1,516 severe and critical cases if Alert Level 3 is imposed,” she said.

Whether under Alert Level 3 or 4, the rate of reduction in NCR cases will be heavily influenced by prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration (PDITR) and vaccination measures.

Easing restrictions in NCR is possible in December?

The gradual but consistent decline in Covid-19 infections in the National Capital Region (NCR) should allow Metro Manila to lift quarantine measures in time for the Christmas season.

The decreasing number of new Covid-19 cases and the reopening of more companies should be enough to decrease the alert level to Level 3 or 2.

“It’s now time for the government to look closely at the numbers and believe the global data of cases going down like in Thailand and Malaysia. We can downgrade to Alert Level 2 or Alert Level 3 with 50 percent capacity and reopen the cinema and wellness industry,” Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Jose Maria Concepcion said.

According to the latest statistics from independent OCTA Research, Metro Manila’s Covid-19 reproduction rate has dropped to 0.6 which means that this is a good indicator that the granular measurement alert system is effective.

The average number of persons that get the virus after being exposed to an infected person is referred to as the reproduction number.

The optimal reproduction number, according to OCTA, is less than one.

NCR is on Alert Level 4 until October 15.

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