‘ECQ will give authorities time to prepare for a surge’

THE Department of Health (DOH) does not expect the strict lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Metro Manila, where the number of active cases daily could rise to 18,000 and up to 30,000 by September, but it will give authorities time to prepare for a possible surge.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday that the figures were estimates made by experts from the Autumn Group and a team that employed the Feasibility Analysis of Syndromic Surveillance using Spatio-Temporal Epidemiological Modeler For Early Detection of Diseases, or Fassster system.

“What we’re saying is these lockdowns will help us prepare the system, but it won’t control the spread.

“We still need to prepare the system and do what we must to prevent the further spread of the Delta variant,” she said.

Metro Manila will come under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest government lockdown category, from Aug 6 to Aug 20 as part of efforts to deal with the threat posed by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

Vergeire said the two groups provided forecasts for different lockdown scenarios, including four weeks of total lockdown.

“In these scenarios, there was a rise in the number of cases from 18,000 to over 30,000 cases. This is if we are under ECQ,” she said.

The Fassster team comprises experts in disease modelling, health informatics, social computing and health systems development, said the DOH.

Vergeire did not specify the “preparations” needed to deal with the expected rise in cases in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Earlier this week, Dr Alethea de Guzman, acting director of the Epidemiology Bureau of the DOH, advised local governments to strengthen their prevent-detect-isolate-treat-reintegrate strategies and to expand their healthcare systems to handle the possible rise in the number of cases due to the more contagious variant. — Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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