PHILIPPINES— The independent research group tracking the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) situation in the country believes the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila could shift to the most lenient Alert Level 1 beginning December.
OCTA Research said NCR’s one-week growth rate has dropped by 7 percent, to 379 cases per day, while the test positivity rate has reached 3 percent.
Provinces outside Metro Manila like Rizal, Cavite, Bulacan and Laguna are also classified as very low risk, with cases falling by as much as 44 percent and positivity rates reaching as low as 1 percent.
OCTA Senior Research Fellow Dr. Guido David said that with the encouraging numbers, it is possible for Metro Manila to shift down to Alert Level 1 .
Speaking during a briefing Thursday, David said the national average during the November 11 to 17 period was 1,600 cases daily, down by 27 percent from the week earlier. The reproduction number was at 0.37.
Testing figures also rose by 37 percent over last year’s count.
OCTA founder Prof. Ranjit Rye said despite the declining number of cases, the public must not be complacent and continue to observe minimum health protocols to prevent a surge during the holiday season.
Rye also said national agencies and local government units should also state clearly the regulations covering the bringing of minors to crowded places such as malls and parks in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2.
He said that while it is still possible for cases to rise following the increased mobility, he does not expect the increase to reach the level of surges in March and July.
“Dahil inaasahan namin na marami na sa ating kababayan lalo na sa NCR ay bakunado na that we won’t see the surges that we saw over the last few months dito sa NCR noong March at iyong very vicious surge that we experienced which started last July (Because we expect more people, especially in the NCR, to be fully vaccinated, it is not likely that will experience the same surge we had in March and the vicious surge that started last July),” he said.
Also classified as very low-risk areas are Cebu and Davao del Sur. The provinces of Batangas, Pangasinan, Benguet, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur and South Cotabato are now low-risk areas.
Negros Oriental, Isabela, Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan and Oriental Mindoro are under moderate risk, with ICU rates in Negros Oriental and Cagayan hovering at 75 and 72 percent, respectively.
On Thursday, the country reported 1,297 Covid-19 cases. Total cases climbed to 2.821 million.
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