UP team favors quarantine extension to check coronavirus transmissions
MANILA, Philippines — Although the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was successful in curbing the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), an analysis made by the University of the Philippines backed the government’s decision to extend it by another two weeks to prevent seeing an additional 70,000 cases and 3,100 deaths in Metro Manila alone.
Based on its forecast, the UP team said that should the ECQ be continued, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) will not breach the 10,000 mark by May 31.
Similarly, the total number of deaths due to the severe respiratory disease will just be at around 650.
The team warned that if the government did away with the ECQ in NCR or rolled out a “relaxed form” of it, this “may cause a resurgence of 70,000 additional cases of COVID-19 and an additional 3,100 deaths.”
“The ECQ is indeed working, but the gains are not irreversible. Ending the ECQ prematurely may disrupt the flattening of the curve,” Guido David, Ranjit Singh Rye and Ma. Patricia Agbulos said in their policy paper.
“There are possible rebound effects and increase in transmissions. Since the curve is close to flattening, it is advisable to wait until the curve has flattened before the ECQ is lifted,” they added.
The Department of Health earlier explained that flattening the epidemic curve is meant to spread out cases in a much longer period so as not to overwhelm the country’s health system.
One of the metrics used by the team to say that the ECQ was successful in curbing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 is the drop in its reproductive number, or the ability of a person to transmit the infection to others.
The World Health Organization said that the reproductive number of the virus was between 2 and 2.5.
Based on data provided by DOH, the team said that the reproductive number of the virus in NCR had fallen below 1, registering at 0.86, as of Wednesday.
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