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Despite lockdown, active COVID-19 cases in NCR might increase to 30K —DOH


Even with heightened restrictions and the reimposition of hard lockdown, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) might increase to over 30,000, a top official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.

Citing projections from the DOH’s FASSSTER (Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler) and Autumn groups, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, “Dito po sa mga scenario nakakita po ng (In these scenarios, we see an) increase in the number of [active] cases from 18,000 to 30,000 plus cases. ‘Yan ay naka-ECQ na po tayo (even if we are in ECQ).”

Data from the DOH’s COVID-19 tracker as of July 30 shows the number of active cases in NCR at 12,108 out of 552,209 total cases recorded. Of the total 531,802 have recovered and 8,299 have died.

Vergeire said the projections were based on two scenarios: NCR is under one week general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions followed by a three-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and a four-week ECQ.

With the projections, the Health official said, “[T]hese lockdowns will help us prepare the [health] system but it is not going to control the spread.”

“Kailangan iprepara ang system, gawin natin ang mga dapat gawin para ma-prevent ang further spread ng Delta variant (We need to prepare the system and do what we need to do to prevent the further spread of the Delta variant),” she said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

Despite the threat of the Delta variant, the DOH cannot yet declare that there is a community transmission of the highly contagious coronavirus variant since genome-sequenced cases were still individually linked to one another.

“The assumption will be is Delta variant is part of those factors that we are now considering when it comes to the increasing number of cases.” Vergeire said.

The government placed Metro Manila under ECQ from August 6 to 20 to mitigate the threat of the Delta coronavirus variant.

Under ECQ only essential trips and services are allowed, while GCQ with heightened restrictions and additional restrictions protocol bans indoor and al fresco dining.

The decision was reached after the Metro Manila Council, which is composed of Metro Manila mayors, met with the government inter-agency COVID-19 task force to appeal for the imposition of stricter measures in the region.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos Jr. on Saturday said the NCR mayors have agreed to continue with the 250,000 vaccinations a day during the two-week reimposed ECQ.

In an interview on Dobol B TV, Abalos disclosed that the local chief executives have discussed the target numbers of vaccinations, the financial aid, and the border controls in their meeting on Friday night.

On Friday, the DOH reported 8,562 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest recorded infections for a day since May 28.

These new cases brought the country’s active cases to 61,920, also the highest since May 8; and the nationwide tally to 1,580,824. —KG, GMA News