Experts from the University of the Philippines said Monday the reimposed modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila could reduce the number of COVID-19 cases by at least 50,000 by the end of August.
According to Professor Ranjit Rye of the UP OCTA research team, the Philippines could have 220,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of the month if the capital remained under general community quarantine (GCQ).
There could be 50,000 to 70,000 fewer cases after reverting to MECQ, Rye said at a Malacañang press briefing.
“Ngayon naka-MECQ, we will save more than 50,000 new cases,” Rye said.
The UP professor said the MECQ will have a crucial impact on the coronavirus transmission rate. At present, Rye said the reproduction number — or the number of people an infected person could pass the virus to — is almost 1.5 but could decrease to 1 in 15 days.
“Malaking bagay na ho, kayang kaya, malaking bagay na ho na nagdesisyon ang gobyerno, kahit na napakalaki ng cost nito, na mag-MECQ,” he said.
(The government’s decision, no matter how high the cost is to go back to MECQ, is a big thing.)
“Doon pa lang ho malaki na ang impact sa R (reproduction number), na kung paiigtingin pa yung T3 (testing, tracing, treatment) at sasamahan ng matinding kooperasyon ng private sector at civil society, walang kaduda-duda, in 15 days, babagsak ‘to to one,” he added.
(It already has a significant impact on the R, which if the T3 (testing, tracing, treatment) is intensified and accompanied by intense cooperation of the private sector and civil society, there is no doubt, in 15 days, it will decrease to one.)
President Rodrigo Duterte announced Sunday night that Metro Manila and other COVID-19 high-risk areas would revert to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting Monday, August 3.
The decision was made after medical health workers in the front lines pleaded to the President to give them at least a two-week break to “breathe” and recover from exhaustion due to surge of COVID-19 cases.
UP OCTA research team earlier projected the Philippines would have 150,000 cases by August 31.