A study conducted by the University of the Philippines said that NCR (National Capital Region) and other high-risk areas for COVID-19 should remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) even after May 31, noting the DOH has yet to report over 7,000 additional cases of infections.
“We recommend that the national government continue the MECQ in the NCR and consider the same in other high-risk areas,” UP Diliman Political Science Department Assistant Professor Ranjit Rye, who is a member of the team which conducted the study.
“The reproduction number of NCR, which is oscillating at around 1.0 rather than showing a discernible decrease, is a sign that it might be premature to relax the MECQ to GCQ (general community quarantine),” he added.
“Given that the data received from DOH appears to have a lag, NCR remains a high-risk category.”
The research comes as Metro Manila mayors unanimously agreed and recommended to IATF to transition NCR to community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano also agreed to end the MECQ in NCR after May 31.
Also read: Metro Manila may shift to GCQ by June 1
DOH not reporting 7,000 cases- UP study
Rye said their team discovered that 7,119 patients tested positive for COVID-19 but are not included in the official count of DOH. The number is based on the reports by 36 testing centers nationwide.
The UP research team also found out that the number of COVID-19 cases in NCR is not changing during the first 10 days of MECQ, which is from May 16 to 25.
Rye also said the average number of new infections in NCR during that period is higher than five per day per million of the population.
Makati, Las Piñas, and Pasay city also recorded the most significant week-to-week increase in new cases, the study said. These cities’ CCOVID-19 cases increased by 170%, 60%, and 58%, respectively, from last week.
New COVID-19 cases in Manila, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Caloocan, and Pateros also increased, the UP research team noted.
“While such increases cannot be attributed to MECQ at this time, there remains the possibility that a transition from MECQ to GCQ could exacerbate the increase in new Covid-19 cases in these LGUs, further undermining the government’s efforts to control the transmission of COVID-19,” Rye said.