MANILA, Apr 6 (Mabuhay) —  Easing Metro Manila’s quarantine level is “possible” next week as the virus reproduction rate in the capital region is slowing, independent research group OCTA said Tuesday.

Malacañang earlier said it was considering to place Metro Manila under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) after 2 weeks of strict lockdown or ECQ, the highest in a 4-step level.

The capital region’s current COVID-19 reproduction number, or the number of people infected by a virus patient, is at 1.53 as of Monday, said OCTA Research fellow Guido David.

It is expected to slow to 1.2 after 2 weeks of ECQ, David added.

“Possible naman…Kung ganun, pag malapit na siya sa 1, kahit mag-MECQ tayo pwede natin mapapababa ‘yan sa 1 within the following week,” he said.

“Yung projection natin mukhang aabot naman tayo ng 1.2 reproduction number or even less. Baka hindi na necessary i-extend ang ECQ.”

Officials may reevaluate by end of the week on whether to extend strict lockdown in the capital region and nearby provinces Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, according to David.

“Syempre kung di bumaba masyado ang reproduction number mahihirapan tayo… So far, mukhang aabot tayo ng 1.2, or even 1.1 pa nga pero medyo optimistic ang 1.1,” he said.

(Of course if the reproduction number doesn’t decrease, it will be difficult for us…So far, it seems we can make it to 1.2, or even 1.1 but the latter is too optimistic.)

The Philippines as of Monday tallied 8,355 more coronavirus infections, taking its total to 803,398 cases since the pandemic began.

It is expected to reach 1 million cases by end of the month, OCTA earlier said. (MNS)

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