The OCTA Research team said the number of COVID-19 cases in the country could reach 230,000 by the end of August as Metro Manila and nearby provinces went back to general community quarantine (GCQ).
The Department of Health also expects the infections to increase under the less stringent community quarantine.
According to Nicanor Austriaco, a visiting professor of biology at the University of Santo Tomas, said OCTA Research team recommended a 15-day modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) extension to lower the number of transmissions.
“A two-week period is a single viral incubation time, so you give the community in Metro Manila an additional two weeks to allow the viruses to die without spreading to new patients,” Austriaco said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News/TV 5 on Monday night. “A four-week period will lead to halving of the absolute cases.”
Another member of the research team, University of the Philippines mathematics professor Guido David said the number of cases would decrease by as much as 20,000 if MECQ is extended for another 15 days.
“We’re seeing about 230,000 by the end of August, the total number of cases, if we go back to GCQ,” David said.
230K COVID-19 cases by end-August under GCQ
Austriaco said the risk of shifting to less stringent quarantine “without properly making sure that we will not repeat what we did before in the first GCQ is that these numbers will again begin to rise.”
“The disease is predictable. If you don’t change something, it will do what it did before,” he added.
David explained the trend of COVID-19 cases is actually decreasing, adding the effects of MECQ could be seen in two to four weeks.
The professor also emphasized the need to strengthen protocols, including the implementation of granular lockdowns, isolation, border control, testing, and contact tracing.
“If we have those, it would be a lot better than the last time,” he said.
Austriaco also supported the proposal not to use the rapid tests for screening employees returning to work.
As of August 19, the Philippines logged a total of 169,213 COVID-19 cases, of which 53,665 are active cases. The number of recoveries is 112,861, and fatalities are 2,687.