OCTA urges PH gov’t not to lift MECQ in NCR+ just yet

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021   •   753

MANILA, Philippines – COVID-19 restrictions being enforced in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces should not be eased yet despite the declining spread of the viral respiratory disease, the OCTA Research Group said Friday.

OCTA Research Fellow Nicanor Austriaco said the NCR’s current reproduction number is at 0.98 from April 16 to 22.

He stressed that the less than one reproduction number should be sustained for several weeks before lifting the community quarantine restrictions.

“You have to sustain the R below one for at least several weeks, and this will take a careful planning with the length of the MECQ,” Austriaco said in an online briefing.

“We urge the national government, as one possible benchmark for changing quarantine levels, is not to exit the MECQ until at least the R is less than .9 in a sustained manner,” he added.

OCTA noted that the average daily cases in the NCR in the past seven days are now at 4,200 compared to 5,200 cases recorded two weeks ago.

However, Austriaco said this is still “somewhat unstable” because not all local government units in the NCR have reported decreasing cases.

“You always have the possibilities that as some LGUs recover, there will be an outbreak in one LGU that will spill over to the adjacent LGUs,” he said.

“We are looking for a consistent pattern of decrease throughout all the 17 LGUs for a significant period of time before we know we have successfully passed through the surge,” he added.

Austriaco also emphasized that hospitals also need to be decongested before restrictions can be further eased.

“How fast we decongest our hospitals depends upon he sustained reproduction number that we are able to maintain in the next few weeks,” he said.

The NCR and four provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna have been placed under modified enhanced community quarantine until April 30.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that the government is not yet satisfied with the current decline in cases.

It also remains unclear on whether the MECQ in the NCR Plus will be lifted or extended after April 30 as the Inter-Agency Task Force is still evaluating the current COVID-19 situation in the country before it submits a recommendation to President Rodrigo Duterte. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Kaso ng COVID sa bansa balik na sa pre-surge level – OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Patuloy nang bumubuti ang sitwasyon ng COVID-19 as bansa, batay sa obserbasyon ng OCTA Research Team.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Dr. Guido David, nakatulong sa pagpapababa ng kaso ang ipinatupad na lockdowns, ang bagong COVID-19 alert level system, pagpapalawak sa vaccination coverage at patuloy na pagsunod sa umiiral na health protocols.

Aniya, bumalik na sa pre-surge levels ang naitatalang kaso ng hawaan sa bansa.

“Essentially, we have reversed already the Delta surge in NCR we’re back to where we were before then surge in July,” ani David.

Batay sa datos ng OCTA, hindi na umaaabot sa 4,000 ang naitatalang kaso kada araw sa bansa. Sa Metro Manila, nasa 600 kaso ang naitatala bawat araw.

Sa obserbasyon ng grupo, nagsimula ang downtrend ng kaso noong buwan ng Setyembre.

“The key reasons are vaccinations… secondly, the lockdown helped and the alert level systems are working now. And then thirdly, continued compliance of our kababayans in wearing face mask and doing minimum public health standards,” ani David.

Isa naman sa nakikita nilang maging dahilan ng posibleng muling paglobo ng kaso ay ang pagbaba ng proteksyon kontra COVID-19 ng mga unang nabakunahan, partikular na ang mga nasa A1 sector na pawang healthcare workers.

Kaya dapat aniya ay masimulan ang pagbibigay ng vaccine booster at third dose sa lalong madaling panahon.

“There is a theory na kaya nagkaroon ng spikes in some countries, for example, Israel yata is one of them, after 6 months is because of the waning efficacy (ng bakuna). So ibig sabihin, once the vaccine starts losing its effectiveness, we might see more outbreaks. That’s why we support having the booster shots even before it happens,” ani David.

Ayon naman sa Food and Drug Administration, hinihintay pa nila ang magiging rekomendasyon ng World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (WHO-SAGE) ukol sa gagawing booster at third doses.

Kapag may inilabas nang panuntunan ay inaasahang agad mabibigyan ng karagdagang bakuna ang health workers pati na ang senior citizens at immunocompromised individuals.

“Iyong vaccine experts panel is really working hard on this, very quickly and I would think siguro baka within the next one to two weeks baka matapos nila,” ang pahayag ni FDA director general Eric Domingo.

“Yun lang kasi ang daming combinations sa atin, dahil pito ang ginagamit na vaccines. So medyo marami ang possible combinations na tsini-check for the additional third dose,” dagdag pa niya.

Malaking tulong ang COVID-19 vaccination upang malabanan ang sakit ngunit paalala ng mga otoridad sa publiko, dapat manatili ang pagsunod sa health protocols at iwasan ang mass gathering lalo na ngayong holiday season.

OCTA: 17 LGU sa NCR, ‘low-risk’ na sa COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   November 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nasa low-risk classification na para sa COVID-19 ang buong National Capital Region (NCR), ayon sa OCTA Research team.

Sa isang public briefing, sinabi ni OCTA Research fellow Dr. David Guido na patuloy nang bumababa ang kaso ng COVID-19 sa 17 local government units at mababa na rin ang reproduction rate o antas ng hawaan ng virus sa NCR sa 0.5 hanggang 0.6.

Kapag nagtuluy-tuloy aniya ito, wala na silang nakikitang dahilan para hindi ibaba sa COVID-19 Alert Level 2 ang NCR sa kalagitnaan ng Nobyembre.

“Mas bumababa na ang resurges dahil mas madami na ang protektado sa Metro Manila, so ayun nga we support ang pag-relax sa Alert Level 2 para makabawi ang ating mga negosyo pero we should do so in a safe manner,” ani David.

Ligtas na rin aniyang tuluyang buksan ang mga negosyo, gayundin ang panukalang ibalik na ang 100% capacity sa mga pampublikong sasakyan ngunit dapat ay limitado lamang ito sa mga fully vaccinated na laban sa COVID-19.

“Base sa aming pagbasa ng datos ay it’s actually safe to reopen our businesses at this time,” ani David.

“I-restrict sana iyan sa fully vaccinated na passengers pero sa ngayon naman sa Metro Manila ay malapit na tayo nasa 96%na tayong may first dose, it means iyong adult (population) natin malapit na tayo sa 100% fully vaccinated sa Metro Manila,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa datos na hawak ng grupo, nasa 30% na lang ang bed utilization rate sa mga ospital na dati ay puno ng COVID-19 patients, habang nasa 39% naman ang ICU utilization rate.

May mga ospital pang nasa 60% ang utilization rate dahil preferred hospitals ang mga ito para sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19.

Ayon kay David, sapat na rin ang COVID-19 testing ngayon sa rehiyon dahil naabot na ang 5% benchmark ng World Health Organization.

Sa buong bansa, nasa 8% aniya ang positivity rate dahil may ilang probinsiya pang nangangailangang itaas ang kanilang testing capacity.

Batay sa monitoring ng OCTA Research team, kaunting probinsya na lang ang may mataas na kaso gaya ng Occidental Mindoro at Zamboanga City.

Naniniwala si David na kailangang magtuluy-tuloy ang pagbaba ng kaso sa buong bansa upang lalong bumuti ang sitwasyon bago matapos ang 2021.

“Iyong projection natin sa ngayon kung magpatuloy ang trend natin na pababa ang bilang ng kaso ay maaring bumaba tayo to 2,000 cases per day sa buong bansa by end of November. Inaasahan natin na sana magkatotoo iyan,” ani David.

“At kung mangyari iyan patuloy na magiging magnda ang holiday sa December,” dagdag pa niya.

Ngunit pakiusap ng mga eksperto sa publiko na huwag maging kumpiyansa at manatiling sumunod sa health protocols, iwasan ang pamamasyal, at mass gathering o kumpulan lalo na sa mga pampublikong lugar upang maputol na ang hawaan ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

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LIST: Areas under MECQ, GCQ until Oct. 31

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the placement of several areas under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the latest risk-level classifications shall take effect beginning October 16 until October 31.

The following areas have been placed under MECQ:

  • Apayao
  • Kalinga
  • Batanes
  • Bulacan
  • Bataan
  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Laguna
  • Naga City
  • Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga del Norte

Meanwhile, the following areas are placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions:

  • Abra
  • Baguio City
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Pangasinan
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • City of Santiago
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Quirino
  • Quezon
  • Batangas
  • Bacolod City
  • Capiz
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Negros Oriental
  • Bohol
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Cagayan de Oro City
  • Davao del Norte
  • Davao Occidental
  • Davao de Oro
  • Butuan City
  • Surigao del Sur

Also approved under GCQ are the following areas:

  • Ilocos Norte
  • Dagupan City
  • Ifugao
  • Benguet
  • Tarlac
  • Lucena City
  • Occidental Mindoro
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Marinduque
  • Albay
  • Camarines Norte
  • Aklan
  • Antique
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Occidental
  • Iloilo City
  • Iloilo Province
  • Cebu City
  • Cebu Province
  • Mandaue City
  • Siquijor
  • Tacloban City
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Iligan City
  • Davao City
  • Davao Oriental
  • Davao del Sur
  • General Santos City
  • Sultan Kudarat
  • Sarangani
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Agusan del Norte
  • Agusan del Sur
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Cotabato City
  • Lanao del Sur

All other areas shall be placed under Modified General Community Quarantine, Roque said.

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