An independent research group suggested on Wednesday, May 26, to extend the strict general community quarantine (GCQ) in the Philippine capital despite a dip in COVID-19 cases in the past days.
“While we believe we can relax restrictions, we think we should try to retain the GCQ at this time because the cases are still significant,” said Dr. Guido David of the independent OCTA Research.
“We want to avoid situations wherein people become very complacent because they feel that the situation has improved significantly, that there are no more cases when in fact there are still cases,” he said in an online media briefing.
Based on data from the Department of Health, the national capital region and nearby provinces have seen a decline in new daily COVID-19 cases to a little over 1,000 in the past week.
David said it seems not the right time yet to ease health restrictions given the still high number of new COVID-19 cases. He suggested that the GCQ be extended for two more weeks.
He noted that in February, the national capital was already under GCQ with an average 400 new daily confirmed cases.
David said the average number of new daily cases in Metro Manila in the past seven days has decreased to 1,099, a number that he noted is about the same as the figure reported at the beginning of March.
“That is about 80-percent lower than the average during the peak of the surge,” he said, adding that the single-day peak was 8,000 but the daily average peak was 5,550.
“So this is a significant improvement and obviously we want to sustain this,” he said.
The capital region’s reproduction number, or the average number of people infected by one COVID-19 case, is currently at 0.53.
David, however, warned that Metro Manila will always be at risk for another surge, especially because of the existence of more transmissible variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.