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Philippines Close to Flattening the Curve as Strict GCQ Takes Hold: Research

By the end of August or September, researchers say.
by Joel Guinto
Aug 24, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

The Philippines can flatten the curve or slow the spread of COVID-19 by the end of August at the earliest, or in the following month, according to a research team that is advising the government's pandemic response task force. Fifteen days of strict quarantine in Mega Manila helped.

There are at least two indicators, according to Guido David, a fellow of UP-Octa : The 2,378 cases reported on Aug. 23 was the lowest in a single day so far this month. The reproduction rate of the virus is also down to 1.1 from 1.5. Experts see 1 as the threshold for this indicator, scores below it mean infections are petering out, scores above it indicate an expansion.

Had the MECQ not been reimposed on Aug. 4 to 18, COVID-19 cases could reach 230,000. David said the projection was lowered to 220,000. Total infections neared 190,000 as of Sunday with close to 3,000 deaths.

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Metro Manila, home to a tenth of the population and the driver of a third of the economy, is under a "strict GCQ" until Aug. 31. This means face shields on top of face masks in the office, public transport and shopping malls, a curfew of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and the continued closure of gyms and internet cafes.

A flattening of the curve means the spread is mangeable and prevention measures need to be sustained in the coming months, David told Teleradyo. Should the slowdown continue, a return to MECQ will not be necessary, he said.

“Sa ngayon umaasa tayong kaya pa rin iyan, katapusan ng August ma-flatten ang curve, or puwedeng kahit September siguro mangyari iyan (For now, we hope that we can flatten the curve by the end of August, or maybe September)," David said.

"Hindi naman ibig sabihin flatten iyong curve, tapos na (A flatteing of the curve doesn't mean it's over)," he said. "Kaya kailangan, talagang continuous iyong effort natin. Hindi tayo puwedeng magpabaya kasi puwedeng magka-surge ulit iyan (This is why our efforts need to continue. We can’t be complacent because it can surge again.)

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