OCTA projects ‘clear’ downward trend in NCR COVID-19 cases by next week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12)— Metro Manila may see a “clear” downward trend in COVID-19 cases in the region by next week, according to a fellow of independent research group OCTA.

“We project that by next week, we will start to see a clear downward trend in cases,” Prof. Guido David told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Monday.

David said there has somehow been a slowdown in COVID-19 trends in the capital region, the epicenter of the pandemic, with the reproduction rate in the area now down to 1.23.

The reproductive number— which increased to more than 2 last month— ideally should be one or less, as anything higher means there is still significant community transmission, according to medical experts.

“We’re hoping that by next week, it will be close to 1," David said. "When it goes down to 1, that means we will start on a clear downward trend."

Aside from the lower reproductive rate, David said a number of local government units in Metro Manila have also been recording improvements in terms of metrics and growth rates for COVID-19.

He said Pasay, Marikina, and Mandaluyong have been logging a downward trend in virus infections, while Manila, Quezon City, and Taguig have also seen negative growth rates in the past week.

While David acknowledged NCR's shift to a more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine may delay the slowdown in cases, he expressed hope the momentum it got from the earlier ECQ will still help in pulling down the trends.

“Hopefully, with the momentum that we have with the ECQ, even though we downgraded it to MECQ, we can carry this momentum, and continue to have a negative growth rate, and eventually reverse the trend,” David said.

Metro Manila and the other provinces in the NCR Plus bubble— Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna — eased to MECQ until April 30 as the government aims to further balance the health and economic aspects of the COVID-19 crisis.

The provinces of Quirino and Abra, and Santiago City in Isabela were also placed under the same form of lockdown.

The Philippines' COVID-19 case tally spiked to 864,868 on Sunday, after the Health Department listed 11,681 new virus infections. This marked the third consecutive day new cases topped 10,000.

In the past weeks, the country has been logging consecutive record-highs in new daily infections, which reached a single-day peak of 15,310 on April 2.