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UP OCTA: We won’t recommend NCR shift to MGCQ yet

Commuters wait for buses on Commonwealth Avenue

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) will discourage the shift of Metro Manila to the most lenient form of community quarantine as more study and observation are needed to ensure that relaxing the lockdown won’t result in a drastic rise in COVID-19 cases.

“Sa ngayon, hindi pa natin mare-recommend ‘yan (modified general community quarantine) kasi puno pa rin ang mga hospitals natin eh. The moment na mag-MGCQ tayo baka mangyaring tulad dati noong nag-GCQ tayo,” Professor Guido David of UP-OCTA Research Team said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV on Saturday.

“Sa ngayon, tignan, obserbahan muna natin. Siguro ire-evaluate muna natin,” David said.

The UP-OCTA Research Team expert said Metro Manila and nearby provinces should instead observe the effects of the recent return to general community quarantine (GCQ) as the 15-day modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to 18 helped in somehow “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 cases.

“Kasi minsan delayed ang effects ng GCQ,” David said, noting that the effect of a community quarantine can be felt in about two weeks.

“Mabuti nang ma-retain muna natin ang GCQ at kailangan tutukan natin kung ano ang effect nito,” he said.

The UP OCTA earlier said that the MECQ in the National Capital Region and other high-risk areas has been effective in slowing down the spread of the coronavirus

This, as the R-naught (R0), which describes the reproduction of COVID-19 cases, dropped from 1.5 in end of July to 1.1 now in August, according to the experts. An R0 below 1 means a flattened curve.

While a flattened curve is approaching towards September, the UP research team warned against complacency.

“Wala naman problema mag-open ng economic sectors pero dapat tignan ang epekto nito,” David said.

He noted that there is still a possibility that infection rate could accelerate.

On Friday, the Department of Health reported it has recorded a total of 209,544 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far. Of this number, 134,474 have already recovered, while 3,325 have died.

Most of the new cases reported came from the National Capital Region with 2,097.

This was followed by Laguna with 178, Cavite with 138, Batangas with 132, and Cebu with 125.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippine may rise to up to 375,000 by the end of September, according to the newest projection made by the UP-Octa Research Team. —KG, GMA News