COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila rose by 27% in past week â OCTA
Mandaluyong residents are seen in this July 14, 2021 photo waiting to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a mall
The STAR/Boy Santos

COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila rose by 27% in past week — OCTA

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - July 22, 2021 - 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — OCTA Research on Thursday flagged an increase in new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila that it said is a "cause for serious concern."

The independent panel of experts noted a 27% increase in cases in Metro Manila — to 813 from 638 — between July 15 and 21.

Metro Manila's reproduction rate stood at 1.15 in that period, from just 0.91 the week before. This refers to the number of persons a positive individual can infect. 

OCTA said it observed a similar trend in February that marked the start of a surge in Metro Manila. 

Government eventually returned the region and nearby provinces — an area now collectively called "NCR Plus" — to a hard lockdown for months.

"While it is not clear what is driving this increase in new cases without scientific basis, it is best to be cautious and be prepared for a possible surge," experts said.

The panel added that the spike remains in its early stage, and a full-blown surge could still be averted with proactive measures. 

OCTA said officials should study a stricter quarantine status in Metro Manila, and ramp up testing and contact tracing further. 

It continued that there is now a need to increase curbs, reduce capacity of businesses, extend curfew hours, and reduce mobility of children. 

"Our citizens need to realize that what we do will be crucial to mitigating this evolving surge in COVID cases," experts said. "Their vigilance and discipline are needed at this time."

The warning comes as the Philippines detects more cases of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, that is blamed for surges in neighboring countries.

Health authorities earlier today reported 12 more local cases to bring the total at home to 47.

OCTA advised the public to reduce non-essential travels and social gatherings, as well as to get vaccinated as soon as possible. 

Latest government figures showed there are now 5.23 million Filipinos who have completed their two-dose COVID-19 vaccinations. That is 7.47% of the government target to inoculate 70 million this year. 

Some 15.32% of the target have received their first dose.

"There is still time to reverse this trend in the NCR," OCTA said. "But we need to act collectively, decisively, and swiftly."

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