MANILA, Philippines — An independent research group on Friday night recommended that Metro Manila and nearby areas stay under enhanced community quarantine for another week, hours after the Philippines recorded a record-breaking number of new deaths and active cases of COVID-19.
While noting some improvement from late March, OCTA Research Team fellow Guido David warned that if infections continue to rise by around 10,000 per day, the Philippines will also record some 200 new deaths daily.
"Of course, if public health [and] hospitals are our primary consideration, our recommendation is to extend the ECQ so that we can lower the reproduction to less than 1," David told ABS-CBN News' "Teleradyo."
"If we can't do that, the middle ground would be a [modified ECQ] , a more gradual easing [of restrictions]," he added.
David said that while the virus reproduction rate is slowing down in the NCR Plus bubble, going down from 1.43 to 1.24 on Wedneday, a week-long extension of ECQ would bring down the number of infections.
The 'NCR Plus' bubble — or the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal — is currently under ECQ but Malacañang later Saturday is expected to announce new classifications that will take effect on on April 12, Monday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier this week ruled out the possibility of extending ECQ, claiming that the government no longer has the funds to help people affected by movement restrictions. However, Roque also said that upgrading to a modified ECQ would be contingent on the outcome of intensified prevention, detection, isolation, treatment and reintegration or PDITR efforts.
— Bella Perez-Rubio
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