'Cause for serious concern': OCTA sounds alarm on rising NCR cases

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — The latest report of a group of researchers monitoring the country's pandemic trends painted a worrying picture of the ongoing COVID-19 situation in Metro Manila.

OCTA Research said the National Capital Region's reproduction number or R0 from July 15 to 21 rose to 1.15, from the previous week's .91, adding "this is a cause for serious concern." The R0 is the number of people infected by a single coronavirus-positive individual.

OCTA noted that the recent R0 trend shows a pattern similar to "the period which signified the start of a surge in the NCR." The group was referring to the trend during the February 12 to 19 period - when the R0 went up to 1.30 from 1.06.

Metro Manila logged a daily average of 813 infections from July 15 to 21 - a 27% increase from the 638 tallied the week prior, OCTA said, adding it's still unclear what exactly is triggering the uptick in infections.

Delta - described by experts as the most contagious among all variants of concern - was recently detected in Metro Manila.

RELATED: PH detects 12 new local Delta variant cases, total climbs to 47

OCTA said "there is still time to reverse this trend in the NCR," by implementing tighter measures such as stricter quarantine status, as well as expanded testing and contact tracing. NCR eased to the regular general community quarantine on July 15.

The group also urged local governments to reduce capacity inside establishments, lengthen curfew hours, and strictly monitor compliance with minimum health standards. The researchers also encouraged the people to get vaccinated and limit non-essential gatherings.

The Department of Health earlier said Metro Manila has the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates among all regions.