PH daily COVID-19 cases could hit 11,000 by end-March, 20,000 by mid-April – OCTA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — The country could see increasing COVID-19 cases daily by month-end and by the middle of April, if the upward trend in infections continues, a member of the OCTA Research group warned.

From an initial projection of 8,000, OCTA Research Fellow Guido David said the daily infections could reach 11,000 by end-March.

This, as the reproduction rate is now at 2.03, which means a person with COVID-19 can easily infect two more people.

"Dati mas mababa ang reproduction number, ang projection natin was 8,000. Pero ngayon nasa 11,000 per day sa buong Pilipinas at the end of March," David told CNN Philippines' News.PH.

[Translation: Before we had a low reproduction number, so our projection was only at 8,000. But now it is at 11,000 per day nationwide at the end of March.]

If left unchecked, David warned the upward trend could lead to 20,000 daily cases by mid-April. That's up from the 17,000 to 18,000 earlier projected by OCTA.

Last March 13, the country registered 5,000 new cases for the first time in nearly seven months. The last time the Department of Health recorded at least 5,000 infections was on August 26 last year with 5,277 cases.

On Tuesday, the nationwide tally rose to 631,320 after 4,437 new cases were confirmed.

Authorities blamed the spike to dwindling public compliance to health protocols. OCTA earlier said the rising figures can also be partly attributed to the new and more contagious variants.

With the latest projection, David told CNN Philippines in a separate message that deaths could go up to 100 per day if the number of cases rises to 5,000 a day, and 400 deaths if new cases reach 20,000 daily.

There were 72 new deaths recorded last March 15 when the country logged 5,000 cases. The country's death toll is currently at 12,848 after 11 new deaths were reported.

Metro Manila on Monday began its two-week implementation of uniform curfew hours, starting from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., in a bid to control the rising COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region. Localized lockdowns and liquor bans were also imposed in some areas.

David said the attack rate is high in the cities of Pasay, Makati, Navotas, San Juan, and Malabon. However, he noted there is a slight slowdown in the trends in Pasay, Navotas, and Malabon.

"To be fair, yung trend medyo nag-slowdown na sa Malabon, Navotas, and Pasay. So I think yung mga localized lockdowns have helped curbed the increase dito sa mga lugar na ito," he said.

[Translation: To be fair, there is a slight slowdown in trend in Malabon, Navotas, and Pasay. I think localized lockdowns have helped curbed the increase in these areas.]

CNN Philippines Multi-Platform News Writer Vince Ferreras contributed to this report