COVID-19 cases in Philippines projected to hit 60,000 by end-July

01-Jul-2020 Intellasia | PhilStar | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Researchers estimated the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country could soar to 60,000 by the end of July as the Philippines is still experiencing “significant” community transmission of the illness.

A new study from OCTA Researchcomposed of professors from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomasalso projected that deaths related to COVID-19 may reach 1,300 by end-July.

Currently, the coronavirus pandemic has so far sickened 36,438 people in the Philippines. Of the figure, 1,255 have died while 9,956 have recovered.

The current reproduction numberwhich represents the number of people who may be infected by a confirmed casein the country was estimated at 1.28, which indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet on the downward trend, the researchers said. Ideally, the reproductive number should be below one.

“Based on the current number of cases in the Philippines (including uncategorised cases) and assuming the trends continue, this projects to more than 60,000 COVID-19 cases by July 31, with 1,300 deaths,” the experts said.

The projection of 60,000 cases by end-July, however, was based on the lower end of the estimated 60,000 to 70,000 cases.

“We emphasize that the projected increase in cases and deaths can be prevented by rapidly identifying and breaking chains of viral transmission,” the researchers said.

The group earlier projected that COVID-19 infections in the country would reach 40,000 by end-June.

Projections for Metro Manila, Cebu

According to the researchers, community spread of the virus is “uneven” across the archipelago but “Central Visayas, especially Cebu City, has significantly higher transmission rates than the rest of the country.”

Cebu City was reverted back to enhanced community quarantine at least until the end of the month after the metropolis saw a spike in virus infections.

Cebu province is expected to have 15,000 cases by the end of July if ECQ remains implemented. But if restrictions on movement are relaxed, COVID-19 infections may swell between 20,000 and 30,000 by July 31.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila may see 27,000 cases by end of July if transmission decreases.

Aside from Cebu and Metro Manila, Risal and Leyte were also classified “high-risk” areas.

‘Recalibrate’ strategies

The researchers urged the government to re-examine and recalibrate its strategies in combating the health crisis.

“In our view, the aforementioned national and local projections represent a significant increase in transmissions and is a serious cause for concern that needs to be examined and given appropriate and immediate response by the government,” UP mathematics professor Guido David, UP political science professor Ranjit Singh Rye, Maria Patricia Agbulos, and UST biology professor Reverend Fr Nicanor Austriaco said.

They called on the government to test a minimum of 10,000 and 20,000 individuals in Metro Manila and the Philippines, respectively, per day, and conduct aggressive and effective contact tracing.

“It is time to change gears before we lose control of the situation. We need a new strategy that is characterised by empowered execution, treatment of citizens as partners, and relying on evidence-based policy and decision making,” the researchers said.

“The specific elements of a new approach can be further refined. What is urgent is to recognise that doing more of the same will not lead to better results. We also do not want to remain the laggard in the region in the fight against COVID-19. The nation deserves better,” they added.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to announce new quarantine measures nationwide later Tuesday.


Category: Philippines

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