Metro Manila, Philippines —The OCTA Research Group said Wednesday that COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) are declining, with several indicators showing a downward trend.

“New COVID-19 cases in the NCR have been decreasing since October 1, when the NCR had 1,719 new cases based on DOH data,” OCTA Research fellow Guido David said in a tweet.

He noted that the region’s 7-day average of new infections decreased from 807 during the Oct. 12 to 18 period to 491 during the Oct. 19 to 25 period.

Also, NCR’s one-week growth rate further declined to -39% from -7%.

Metro Manila’s reproduction number — or the number of people who can catch the virus from an infected person — also decreased from 0.98 as of Oct. 15 to 0.74 as of Oct. 25.

The 7-day positivity rate declined from 14.6% as of Oct. 17 to 11.6% as of Oct. 24.

The positivity rate refers to the percentage of tested people with positive results, which the World Health Organization (WHO) benchmarked to below 5%.

On healthcare utilization rate and ICU occupancy in NCR, OCTA said these have remained at low levels at 29% and 23%, respectively.

“In analyzing the trends and the available data, it seems that the June 2022 wave in the NCR was driven by the Omicron BA.5 while the subsequent wave from September may have been driven by the XBB (or XBC),” David said.

“Hopefully, the downward trend continues until the December holidays, but there is uncertainty in the trends because of the presence of other subvariants around the world,” he added.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is set to issue an executive order that will allow voluntary use of face mask indoors.

While some lawmakers welcome the move as boost to economic recovery, health experts warned of a possible increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

The Health department has already confirmed the presence of the highly transmissible COVID-19 Omicron XBB subvariant and XBC variant.

So far, there have been nearly four million COVID-19 infections in the country, of which around 21,000 are currently ill.