COVID-19 surge has started in Metro Manila, but can be mitigated — OCTA Research | Inquirer News
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COVID-19 surge has started in Metro Manila, but can be mitigated — OCTA Research

/ 09:32 AM December 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A “surge in its early stages has already started” in Metro Manila ahead of the Christmas holiday, but it can still be mitigated, a group of academic experts said.

In its latest report dated December 21, the OCTA Research Team said that based on available data, the “period of the declining trend in cases observed in the National Capital Region in the past few months has now ended.”

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“The trend has been reversed with significant positive growth in new cases observed in the region,” the OCTA Research Team said.

“It is in this light that we believe, based on our analysis of the data and of the past trends in the NCR, that a surge in its early stages has already started in the region. This is a serious cause for concern,” the group added.

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According to the group, the reproduction rate in the National Capital Region has increased from 1.06 to 1.15 for the period from December 14 to 20 as the region remains to be the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The group, however, clarified that the surge is still in its “nascent” stage and that it can still be mitigated or reversed.

“While the situation in the NCR is still manageable, we exhort the Government, civil society and the private sector to start working together to implement appropriate and timely responses to reverse this trend quickly and to prevent this ensuing surge from becoming full-blown and potentially overwhelming the health care system in the NCR,” the group said.

The group said places identified as areas of concerns should intensify their efforts at testing, tracing, and isolation while high-risk areas were urged to implement a “more aggressive and effective localized lockdowns with stricter border controls…”

Among the provinces and regions of concern identified in the report include the NCR, Rizal, Bulacan, Isabela, Leyte, Pangasinan, South Cotabato, and Negros Oriental.

The public is also urged to avoid not just crowded and enclosed areas but also to refrain from joining or organizing social gatherings during the Christmas season.

“There is evidence from Europe and North America that increased social mixing among households are driving the second wave of COVID-19 in these parts of the world,” the group said.

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“While we must and we will celebrate Christmas, we should do so safely and responsibly, not just to ensure our own safety and wellbeing, but that of our families and our community,” it added.

As of December 21, there are 461,505 COVID-19 cases in the country, with the death toll approaching the 9,000 mark.

JE

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