55 areas under localized ECQ in Pasay City amid spike in COVID-19 cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 23) — From the 33 barangays and one establishment placed on lockdown on Saturday, Pasay City now has a total of 55 areas under localized enhanced community quarantine as it grapples with rising COVID-19 infections.

“As of this afternoon, we have 55 barangays under localized enhanced community quarantine...because nagkaroon po kami ng 21 additional barangays na nagkaroon ng [we have 21 additional barangays which registered] three or more cases,” Pasay City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit nurse Mico Llorca told CNN Philippines’ News.PH on Tuesday.

In its report released on Sunday, the OCTA Research Group said Pasay City logged an alarming 203% increase in daily new cases over the Feb. 18 to 20 period, as compared to the daily average from the week prior.

READ: Metro Manila sees rise in new COVID-19 cases; Pasay logs over 200% increase — OCTA

Llorca said a number of factors could be behind the surge. He said it could be linked to the new and more transmissible variant first found in the United Kingdom, which was detected last week in a Pasay City resident.

He said this development prompted intensified testing as well as enhanced contact tracing efforts, which cover up to third-generation contacts. The local government has also requested the Department of Health to have samples from their city undergo genome sequencing to help determine if more of their residents contracted the variant.

Another likely factor, he said, is the location of the city itself.

“Nasa amin po ‘yung airport, so 'yung mga palabas at papasok ng bansa at ibang probinsya, sa amin po dumadaan,” he said. “‘Yung iba, nag-iistay pa nang ilang araw sa amin, sa mga dormitories or bedspace, habang naghihintay ng flights.”

[Translation: The airport is located in Pasay, so those entering and leaving the country or travelling to and from other provinces pass through our area. Others stay for a few days in our city, in dormitories or bedspace, while waiting for their flights.]

Data also showed high viral transmissions among family members, with some 66% of their active cases belonging to the same households, he added.

According to its public information office, the city has 395 active cases as of Feb. 22. The total number of infected is now at 7,650, but 7,059 have already recovered while 196 have died due to the illness.

Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano, who tested positive for COVID-19, is also still recovering, Llorca said.