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THE situation within the National Capital Region (NCR) is already getting better, with the region being considered already as a COVID-19 moderate risk area from previously being a high-risk area.

According to Prof. Guido David of the OCTA Research Group, the 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases per day in the NCR went below to only 1,100, with a positivity rate of 10 percent and reproduction rate of only 0.57.

The reproduction rate is also at 0.57, so the NCR is now a moderate risk from high risk,” David said in a television interview.

David also pointed to the Top 10 cities when it comes to the number of cases, with five coming from the NCR and five outside of the NCR Plus bubble, which includes Davao City, Puerto Princesa City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City and Cagayan de Oro City.

Relatedly, David said although the condition is improving, they still won’t recommend the simultaneous downgrading of quarantine restrictions since it is still possible that this will bring another spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

The indication is good and we expect easing of restrictions, but we don’t recommend easing of all restrictions all at once,” David explained.  “Easing restrictions all at once can seriously reverse the trend and threaten our pandemic management.”

At present, NCR is still under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions up until the end of May.

David again recommended that for the situation to improve even further, the government should prioritize the vaccination of 50 percent of the population of NCR, including the cities of Tuguegarao, Santiago, Baguio, Cainta, Cebu and Imus, areas that are most vulnerable to a new COVID-19 surge.

These LGUs are always under threat of a surge. The 50 percent is a realistic target because while we need as much as 75 [percent] to achieve herd immunity, almost 30 percent of our population are children whom vaccine is not yet available,” David added. “With 50 percent, we will achieve a level of containment.”

It can be recalled that last March 29 up to April 11, the government re-imposed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status in NCR Plus areas because of a new COVID-19 surge.

The national government then imposed a Modified ECQ (MECQ) from April 12 up to May 15, which subsequently went down to GCQ after improvements in the COVID-19 situation were observed in the mentioned areas.. 

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