'We're not out of the woods yet,' OCTA says in calling for MECQ extension
Medical frontliners attend to patients on Tuesday midnight, April 27, 2021 at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon CIty which set up additional tents near the emergency room to attend to the influx of COVID-19 patients.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

'We're not out of the woods yet,' OCTA says in calling for MECQ extension

(Philstar.com) - April 28, 2021 - 3:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — OCTA Research on Wednesday backed an extension of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in 'NCR Plus' by May, saying another week or two could stabilize the number of daily new COVID-19 cases in the country.

In a Laging Handa briefing, OCTA fellow Ranjit Rye said stretching the MECQ could give longer time to open more quarantine facilities, hire additional health workers and expand hospital capacity.

"That's why we're asking for additional week or more for MECQ, to give time for national and local governments to implement interventions," he said, partly in Filipino. "It's very clear that the sad experience we have with this terrible surge is the need for expanded testing, tracing and isolation."

Rye said at least 2,000 additional infections in Metro Manila could be manageable based on their studies. At present, the capital region is still averaging 3,500 but this has already decreased from 5,500 previously.

He added that the panel of experts understands the need to also allow more workers get back on their jobs in balancing health and the economy. OCTA said that if government will permit more establishments to resume, it should be on those that will not add more risk to the virus' transmission.

"We saw a slight decrease this week but we're not out of the woods yet," Rye said. "This can be reversed if we are not careful, and if cases surge again, it will be more difficult to deal with as our hospitals are still full."

Earlier today, Metro Manila mayors agreed to relax further curfew hours in the capital region, or between 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting May 1. This, however, can still be changed depending on President Rodrigo Duterte's final decision, which the Palace said could by announced tonight. 

Local chief executives also deferred to the President on the quarantine status of Metro Manila. It was returned to ECQ in late March, and shifted to MECQ by mid-April.

Prof. Guido David, another OCTA fellow, said the reproduction rate in Metro Manila is now at 0.85 from more than 2 in recent weeks. This refers to how many persons a COVID-19 positive individual can infect. 

The positivity rate in NCR has also gone down to 18%, he said. Still, hospitals here could see easing in its occupancy when daily cases are reduced to less than 2,800.

Data from the Department of Health as of April 26 showed bed occupancy in Metro Manila at 61.9%, or 6,009 beds occupied out of 9,701 in total. ICU bed occupancy is also at 69.25%, isolation beds at 59.24% and ward beds at 64.46%.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: July 24, 2021 - 3:23pm

Follow this thread for updates on COVID-19 risk levels, safety measures, and data from Metro Manila's local government units.

Photo: The STAR/Michael Varcas

July 24, 2021 - 3:23pm

The Metro Manila Council says the 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew hours are back in Metro Manila amid the threat of Delta variant of COVID-19 effective tomorrow, July 25.

July 23, 2021 - 10:36am

The National Capital Region will be placed under General Community Quarantine "with heightened restrictions" from July 23 to 31, the Palace says.

The last time that "heightened restrictions" were imposed, the government allowed only essential interzonal — or between areas with diferent classifications — travel.

Indoor dining was allowed at 20-percent seating capacity and outdoor dining was limited to 50-percent capacity.

Tourist attractions were allowed to operate at 30-percent capacity.



June 21, 2021 - 4:54pm

Manila allows walk-in clients in all vaccination sites following low vaccination turnouts reported in the city.

Mayor Isko Moreno issued the directive at 4:30 p.m., Manila Public Information Office says.

Manila City started its no-walk in policy on Monday, resulting to low vaccination turnouts.

June 16, 2021 - 12:25pm

Quezon City may terminate its contract with Zuellig Pharma Corp. over "technical difficulties" on its eZConsult service that have prevented residents from signing up for COVID-19 vaccination slots.

"We have issued an ultimatum to Zuellig so they can improve their system quickly and provide all the deliverables. If not, we have no other choice but to find another company that can do the job quickly and efficiently," QC Mayor Joy Belmonte says in a press statement.

The eZConsult system bogged down in June 10, 2021, the QC government said, "causing the city government’s inability to provide vaccines to its constituents in a quick and timely manner."

It said the city may also seek damages from the company over the inconvenience that the technical difficulties caused.

June 14, 2021 - 11:46am

The curfew in the National Capital Region will be adjusted to from midnight to 4 a.m., Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Benhur Abalos announces.

The new curfew hours — shorter than the 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew imposed in May — will take effect on June 15.

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