The “period of the declining trend in cases observed in the National Capital Region (NCR) in the past few months has now ended,” the research team said.
“The trend has been reversed with significant positive growth in new cases observed in the region,” the multidisciplinary group said.
“It is in this light that we believe, based on our analysis of the data and of the past trends in the NCR, that a surge in its early stages has already started in the region. This is a serious cause for concern,” it said.
OCTA reported that the reproduction number R0 (R-naught) of the new COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila increased to 1.15 in the Dec. 14-20 period from 1.06 in the previous week.
“The NCR remains to be the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country with most number of cases,” it said.
As of December 22, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,314 additional cases, bringing the total number of cases in the Philippines to 462,815.
Quezon City reported the most number of new cases, 93, followed by Rizal (89), Benguet (78), Bulacan (61), and Davao City (60).
COVID-19 surge begins in Metro Manila – OCTA
Meanwhile, 247 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number to 429,419 survivors.
The death toll breached the 9,000-mark to 9,021 after 66 patients succumbed to COVID-19.
“While the situation in the NCR is still manageable, we exhort the government, civil society and the private sector to start working together to implement appropriate and timely responses to reverse this trend quickly and to prevent this ensuing surge from becoming full-blown and potentially overwhelming the health-care system in the NCR,” it said.
Aside from Metro Manila, provinces of Rizal, Bulacan, Isabela, Leyte, Pangasinan, Negros Oriental, and South Cotabato were also identified as areas of concern.
Makati and Quezon City were considered among Metro Manila’s “areas of concern.”
“More aggressive and effective localized lockdowns with stricter border controls are urgently needed to suppress further viral transmissions” for local governments identified as high-risk, it added.
“Together with more effective screening and other controls in our ports and airports, this will be crucial to supporting the government’s plans to expand domestic as well as international travel in the Philippines,” Octa Research said.