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EASING of NCR lockdown? Not so fast, says the country’s treatment czar.

According to COVID-19 treatment czar and Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, complacency may compromise the health and safety of the 108 million Filipinos.

Although data has showed a decline of coronavirus infections in the National Capital Region (NCR), it should not be seen as a compelling reason to ease the lockdown restrictions as the country still faces the possibility of another spike amid the more contagious virus referred to by medical experts as the “Delta” variant that was first discovered in India.

Wala pa tayo sa out of the woods. Hindi pa tayo nakakalabas kasi gradual decrease natin kasi dahan dahan pang bumababa. At saka may variant of concern, ‘yung sinasabi nilang Delta variant. Although wala pa sa local setting, pero ito ‘yung talagang binabatanyan natin. Kaya huwag tayong…not off the guard. Huwag tayong magkumpinyasa talaga,” Vega said in a radio interview on Sunday.

While there are still no local cases of the Delta variant, which is 60 percent more contagious, there are already 17 cases of the variant in the Philippines, mostly from travelers.

Vega also noted that some areas in Visayas and Mindanao recorded an increase in COVID-19 cases while cities in metropolis are reporting gradual decline in infections. He, however, admitted declining cases in Metro Manila.

Although bumababa hindi natin masabi na talagang mawawala talaga,” added Vega, who underscored the need to address healthcare concerns in provinces outside NCR by way of distributing medical equipment in hospitals in Visayas and Mindanao.

A previous report from OCTA Research showed that Davao City, Bacolod, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro and Tacloban were areas of concern as active cases continue to grow there. The independent research organization also reported that cases in Metro Manila dropped to an average of 700 new cases per day from June 15 to June 21.

Metro Manila and Bulacan are under general community quarantine (GCQ) “with some restrictions” until June 30.

Rizal, Laguna and Cavite, on the other hand, are under GCQ but with heightened restrictions.

Other areas in the country are either under the strict modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or modified GCQ.

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