Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MNS Photo)

MANILA, Apr 27 (Mabuhay) — The OCTA Research group on Monday backed calls to extend the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in the NCR Plus, citing the “unstable” trend in new COVID-19 cases.

“Ang recommendation ng OCTA as a group is i-extend ‘yung MECQ para tuluyang mapababa ‘yung kaso,” Dr. Guido David said.

“Hopefully within two weeks mapababa na natin sa NCR ‘yung average to mga 2,000 cases per day. Manageable na ‘yan, kaya na ng hospitals i-bear ‘yung 2,000 cases per day.”

The independent group of experts earlier said that the average number of new cases in the capital region had dropped to 3,841 over the past week from more than 5,500 three weeks ago.

The group, however, did warn health authorities that the COVID-19 trend in the NCR Plus was “unstable” because not all cities were showing a decrease in cases.

Meanwhile, David urged the government to ensure that the loosening of restrictions would be “gradual.”

“If ever na mag-decide ‘yung national government… mag-ease ng restrictions, unang una, sana gradual. ‘Wag nating biglain kasi kung biglain natin, baka talagang sumirit ‘yung cases,” he warned.

“Isang risk for community transmission ‘yung pagdidikit-dikit ng mga tao kaya kasama rin ‘yung mga outdoor activities, kahit ‘yung mga nasa palengke, source of community transmission din ‘yan… so ‘yung indoor dining baka wag muna nating payagan.”

(One risk for community transmission is close contact among people, which includes outdoor activities. Even wet markets are sources of community transmission… Let’s also not allow indoor dining yet.)

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said he was also in favor of extending the MECQ in the NCR Plus.

The MECQ will expire on April 30. The government’s inter-agency COVID-19 task force will convene on Tuesday to discuss the quarantine classifications for May. (MNS)

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