Metro Manila sees 'downward trend' in cases, but too early to ease curbs â OCTA
This photo taken on April 6, 2021 shows a man wearing personal protective equipment walking into a makeshift ward built for COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Manila. More contagious variants of the coronavirus have been blamed for a record surge in infections in Metro Manila that has overwhelmed hospitals and sent the national capital region into lockdown.
AFP/Jam Sta. Rosa

Metro Manila sees 'downward trend' in cases, but too early to ease curbs — OCTA

Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - April 25, 2021 - 1:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — OCTA Research on Sunday said Metro Manila saw a downward trend in new COVID-19 cases last week, but cautioned against easing quarantine restrictions in the capital region by May.

In its latest report, the independent panel of experts said the reproduction rate in NCR, which referts to how many individuals a single COVID-19 positive can infect, decreased to 0.93. This was from the reported 1.24 on the first week of the month. 

"The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day in the NCR was 3,841 over the past week, with a one week growth rate of -20%," OCTA said. "The current average is also 30% lower than the average of 5,552 during the peak of the surge three weeks ago."

OCTA noted that from an average 26,120 tests per day, the positivity rate in the capital region stood at 19% last week, compared with as high as 25% three weeks ago.

Bed occupancy in Metro Manila hospitals also was also down to 61%, while ICU bed occupancy decreased to 71%.

NCR, along with Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan known as the 'NCR Plus' was downgraded to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until end-April.

Not enough yet to relax curbs

But in an exchange, OCTA fellow Guido David told Philstar.com that it may be too early to further ease restrictions as the month comes to a close.

"The trend is still unstable in that it has not been sustained over a long period yet," he said. "This means there is a possibility that the downward trend we are seeing right now may still be reversed if we are not careful."

David added that the most important factor to be considered is that hospitals are still full and will be so "for the next few weeks, as we will continue to have at least 3,000 new cases per day in the NCR." 

The four provinces included in the bubble, while negative growth rates were observed, have also yet to see a sustained downward trend in daily infections, he said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte usually announces new quarantine classifications by end of the month through recommendation by the coronavirus task force.

Daily COVID-19 cases, however, continue to be of significant increases under a surge that began in March. The country's total is also closing in on a million infections.

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