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OCTA calls for stricter quarantine status in NCR amid 'impending' COVID-19 surge

OCTA Research on Thursday called for a stricter quarantine status as the National Capital Region (NCR) shows early stages of COVID-19 case surge, which it said could be driven by the more contagious Delta variant.

In a statement, the group also urged national and local government officials to swiftly ramp up testing and contact tracing efforts.

"We cannot underestimate the COVID-19 uptick because of the possibility that it MAY be driven by Delta. At the very least the IATF must contemplate a stricter quarantine status or impose more restrictions in the NCR," OCTA said.

IATF refers to the  Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government's policy-making body in addressing the pandemic.

OCTA issued the statement as the Department of Health reported that
12 more local cases of the Delta variant were detected, bringing the total to 47.

OCTA warned that the current enforcement of general community quarantine (GCQ) is not enough to stop another surge of the virus, especially in the NCR.

"The current GCQ status without restrictions will not be enough. The key to dealing with this impending surge in cases in the NCR requires timely and appropriate interventions that would include lockdowns augmented by expanded testing and tracing. Let us not wait for the numbers to explode before we act," the independent research team said.

After the country experienced a dramatic uptick of cases in March, OCTA further called on authorities to learn lessons from other countries, which lost control of the surge because "institutions acted too little and too late."

In March 2021, the Philippines started recording an average of 4,000 to 5,000 new cases daily.

"If Delta is driving this surge we need to crush it  with lockdowns ( localized and regional) and with expanded testing and tracing before it explodes and creates a catastrophic surge. We have a window of opportunity to reverse this surge. Let's act decisively and collectively. We need to act now," said OCTA.

While there is no official report on a local transmission of Delta variant, the DOH said there is a "premise that there may be ongoing local transmission already.”

Recently, OCTA Research said the reproduction number in the metropolis increased to 1.15, which means there is already a sustained transmission amid the Delta variant threat. —KBK, GMA News