The Department of Health (DOH) is not ruling out the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the National Capital Region as cases of COVID-19 continue to climb.

“Nandiyan lagi ‘yung posibilidad because based on our projections, kahit magkaroon tayo ng dalawang linggong ECQ, patuloy pong tataas ang mga kaso natin,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Unang Balita, Tuesday (August 10).

Vergeire said the ECQ was undertaken to prepare the system for the continued rise in COVID-19 infections. 

“Ang atin po lang objective for this ECQ is for us to prepare the system para mas ma-manage natin itong ganitong klaseng sitwasyon,” Vergeire explained. 

Vergeire also mentioned that the extension of the ECQ period is still only a possibility for now and that they’ll be conducting further discussions with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to determine the right course of action. 

The health undersecretary also emphasized the significance of other responses in curbing the infection rate. 

“Kailangan nating paigtingin ‘yung iba pa nating ginagawa sa response so that economically hindi rin tayo masyadong ma-burden. So pag-uusapan ho lahat ‘yan sa IATF,” Vergeire said.

According to the OCTA Research group, the reproduction rate of the virus in NCR went up to 1.80 from 1.56 a week ago, which means the virus is much easier to transmit from person to person. 

“The rapid growth rate of cases in the NCR strongly suggests the possibility that the surge is driven by the Delta variant, and the steady increase in the reproduction number may be due to the replacement of the Delta variant over the previous dominant variants (Beta and Alpha),” the group said. 

Vergeire notes that cases may reach 18,000 by the end of September as the Delta variant’s impact continues to manifest. 

On Monday, DOH revealed that 146 local cases of the Delta variant have been detected in Metro Manila. The area was placed under ECQ from August 6 to 20 in light of the threat posed by the new coronavirus variant.

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