The Philippines is projected to have more than 1 million COVID-19 cases before the end of April, the OCTA Research group said Monday as the country continues to grapple with a surge in infections.
In their latest monitoring report, the independent team of experts said that while COVID-19 transmission has slowed in Metro Manila due to tightened restrictions, infections still grew by 20% with 5,538 daily new cases over the past week.
“Before the end of April, the Philippines is expected to have recorded more than 1,000,000 total COVID-19 cases,” they said.
The Philippines has 795,051 infections with 646,100 recoveries and 13,425 deaths as of Sunday afternoon.
Metro Manila’s reproduction number from March 29 to April 4 also decreased to 1.61, meaning each COVID-19 case could infect more than one other person.
The reproduction number is “trending down towards 1.3 or less by April 11,” OCTA said.
Over the weekend, Malacañang announced that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest lockdown classification, over Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal would be extended by a week to April 11.
“It is clear that the lockdown has been effective in slowing down the increase in number of new cases in the NCR. With an additional week of ECQ… the goal is to bring the reproduction number down to 1 or close to it,” the experts said.
The research group also noted that transmission has slowed down in Manila, Parañaque, Marikina, and Navotas, while Pasay and Makati recorded a downward trend in new cases.
However, “rapid increases” in new infections were still observed in Mandaluyong, Las Piñas and San Juan.
“The goal is for these LGUs to have low or negative one-week growth rates in new COVID-19 cases very soon,” the experts said.
OCTA also said the addition of hospital beds for COVID-19 cases helped bring down the hospital occupancy rate in some cities, but warned that these could be filled up soon.
“We will still be seeing 11,000 to 12,000 plus [cases] per day for the next week or so,” OCTA Research fellow Professor Guido David told GMA News.
Meanwhile, OCTA Research said Cebu has shown a downtrend in new cases and hospital occupancy. The province’s positivity rate has also dropped to an “acceptable level” at less than 10%.
“Cebu and its large cities (Cebu City, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu) have again shown that resilience and effective pandemic management are key against COVID-19,” the experts said.
On the other hand, Batangas and Pampanga both recorded one-week case growth rates higher than 50%.
Batangas logged a positivity rate over 20% and a hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy rate above 60%.
Some of the areas where the hospital and ICU utilization rates were higher than 70% were Pampanga, Isabela, and Benguet. —KG, GMA News