THE Department of Health (DOH) yesterday warned that active COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila could still hit 83,921 by August 31 even if vaccination and adherence to health protocols are ramped up while the capital region is under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said projections by the DOH and modeling tool FASSSTER showed that intensified strategies “may result in 83,921 active cases by Aug. 31 and 158,489 active cases in NCR by Sept. 30.”
Vergeire added that if the ECQ had been extended for two more weeks and the current levels of vaccination and enforcement of protocols were maintained, “active cases in NCR may reach up to 66,403 by Aug. 31 and 269,694 by Sept 30.”
Metro Manila recorded a total of 32,039 active cases as of Aug. 19.
The National Capital Region was under ECQ, the strictest lockdown classification, from August 6 to 20. It was downgraded to MECQ along with the province of Laguna on August 21.
The DOH official’s warning came as the Philippine Genome Center said the Philippines is already seeing a community transmission of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Dr. Cynthia Saloma, PGC Executive Director, said they concluded that there is already a community transmission because there are many cases wherein the source of the transmission could no longer be traced.
“Para sa amin sa Philippine Genome Center, mayroon ng community transmission ng Delta variant sa bansa. Marami nang kaso na hindi alam kung saan nagmula. Sa aking palagay, may kinalaman ang Delta variant sa pagtaas ng mga kaso ng COVID-19,” she said.
The DOH urged authorities to enforce targeted restrictions and monitor granular lockdowns and specific high-risk activities.
We will continue to see a dramatic increase in cases in the coming days and this is not the time to be complacent,” she said.
Vergeire also reiterated that strict compliance with the minimum public health standards is still the best defense against COVID-19.
“Adherence to the minimum public health standards is still our best defense against the virus. Early consultation and testing is key to cutting the transmission within households, communities, and workplaces,” she stressed.
The Philippines logged a record-high 17,231 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, raising its caseload to over 1.8 million with 1.65 million recoveries and 31,198 deaths.
The previous highest daily increase was at 15,310 on April 2.