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NCR COVID Cases Rising Again – OCTA

NCR COVID Cases Rising Again – OCTA
A young boy conducts caroling in a jeepney passing along Manalo Street in Barangay Sto. Niño, Marikina City on Sept. 10, 2021. The government banned caroling to celebrate the Christmas season in 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo by Boy Santos, The Philippine STAR

OCTA Research has expressed serious concern over the continuing rise in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, following Saturday’s record high number of new infections.

“This is very serious, 9,061 is a record for the NCR (National Capital Region). The daily average has increased to 6,063, higher than the peak last April,” OCTA fellow Guido David said.

David noted on Sunday, Sept. 12, that this brought Metro Manila’s reproduction number, which refers to the average number of secondary infections by each infected person, to 1.42 and the growth rate to 19%, with a daily average of 5,958 new cases.

David said the 9,061 cases for the NCR alone on Saturday, Sept. 11, is indeed a record high, with seven localities in Metro Manila posting the highest increases in new cases – Caloocan, 869; Taguig, 642; Parañaque, 547; Makati, 534; Valenzuela, 439; Muntinlupa, 384, and Las Piñas, 343.

Metro Manila – along with the provinces of Cavite (1,821), Laguna (1,544), Rizal (1,308) and Bulacan (1,115) – is among the top five localities posting the highest number of new cases last Sept. 11.

Nationwide, the number of active COVID cases is inching closer to 200,000 with the Department of Health (DOH) reporting an additional 21,411 cases on Sunday.

The DOH reported a total of 181,951 active cases, which account for 8.2% of the 2,227,367 total confirmed COVID cases in the country.

Given yesterday’s confirmed cases, Guido said the country’s reproduction number is at 1.31 with a weekly growth rate of 15% and a seven-day average of 20,912 new cases per day.

Also reported on Sunday were 25,049 additional recoveries and 168 deaths. Of the total cases, DOH said 2,010,271 have recuperated while 35,145 succumbed to infection.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said that the NCR could vaccinate 76 to 77% of its eligible population in a month.

In an interview with dzBB, Abalos said that 5.8 million NCR residents were fully vaccinated – 59.42% of the 9.8 million eligible population – as of Sept. 10.

Also, 8.3 million or 85% of the eligible population, have received their first doses.

“More or less, 76 to 77% of the whole Metro Manila would be fully vaccinated in a month. This is a good number,” Abalos added.

He underscored the need for cities to lend a helping hand in the government’s vaccination program as COVID cases continue to soar.

Abalos urged people to strengthen their immune system, aside from having themselves vaccinated.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is set to meet today to discuss the proposed alert level system of the granular lockdown in localities.

Meanwhile, Rep. Joey Salceda suggested that as the number of COVID cases in the country continues to rise, it would be best for the national government to enhance its mass testing capacity.

He called on the IATF to increase testing to 150,000 per day over the next few weeks, as the Delta variant continues to ravage various areas of the country.

“To stop the transmission, you have to catch the sources. That’s why testing is our best bet, without the vaccines,” Salceda emphasized. “To stop the crime, basically you catch the criminal. To stop contagion, you catch the spreader and isolate them.”

The Albay congressman told attendees to the recent 29th Metro Manila Business Conference, which the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized, that the country is receiving just around 450,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day.

“This is just half of our capacity to jab. Actually, the best effort to restore business operations, including the tourism sector’s businesses, is to expedite vaccination. Testing is more expensive than vaccination. But, while the vaccines aren’t here yet, we have no choice, we have to test,” Salceda pointed out. – With Mayen Jaymalin, Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Delon Porcalla