Makati, Quezon City remain as virus hotspots; localized lockdowns pushed
MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila, particularly in the cities of Makati and Quezon City, remained to be considered as “coronavirus hotspots” and should be the “areas of concern” in the government’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, the latest monitoring of the academe-based OCTA Research showed.
With this, the group, in its December 21 report, recommended the implementation of more effective localized lockdowns with stricter border control in areas deemed to be “high risk” to suppress the further spread of the virus.
In the NCR, nine out of 17 local government units showed na increase in new cases within the two-week period of monitoring and are considered LGUs of concern, namely: Makati City, San Juan City, Marikina City, Quezon City, Malabon City, and Taguig City.
Aside from the NCR, the group also flagged the cities of Santiago and Ilagan in Isabela, Baguio City and La Trinidad in Benguet, Cainta (Rizal), Batangas City (Batangas ), all in Luzon; and, the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban (Leyte) in the Visayas.
The report did not cite any city of concern in Mindanao, though it mentioned a higher attack rate in South Cotabato.
“The reproduction number R0 (R-naught) in the NCR has also increased to 1.15 (from 1.06) from period Dec. 14 to 20. The R is now greater than 1 and it’s on an increasing trend. The NCR remains to be the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country with most number of cases,” the report read.
“Furthermore, in the identified high-risk LGUs, the implementation of more aggressive and effective localized lockdowns with stricter border controls are urgently needed to suppress further viral transmissions,” the group said.
Other areas and regions of concern identified in the report include Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Negros Oriental.
“Together with more effective screening and other controls in our ports and airports, this will be crucial to supporting the governments plans to expand domestic as well international travel in the country,” OCTA said.
The group urged the national and local governments to ensure that minimum health standards are being followed and to issue clearer guidelines to the public on activities for the holiday season to help ensure that viral transmissions are mitigated.
“To prevent a surge in cases in the NCR, we encourage LGUs to monitor and enforce the current GCQ limit of 10 persons per gathering in the region and to discourage office parties and other social events, especially as we approach the Christmas season,” the group said.
“Family gatherings like bubbles should be limited to the immediate family and gatherings should also be limited in size. If larger gatherings have to happen, they should be celebrated outside (in open-air/well- ventilated venues) to mitigate transmissions,” 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.
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