CEBU, with less than one percent per 1,000 daily attack rate, is now a low-risk area for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Oct. 6, 2020 report of the Octa Research showed.

Octa Research, an independent and interdisciplinary research group composed primarily of academics from the University of the Philippines and the University of Sto. Tomas who monitor the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines, said the daily attack rate per 1,000 population in Cebu decreased in two consecutive weeks from Sept. 16 to Oct. 6.

Less than 10 new cases every day were recorded during the period. The daily attack rate measures the proportion of new infections per 1,000 population in a certain day.

Aside from Cebu, there were six other provinces where the attack rate decreased in the period under review. These were Bataan, Batangas, Bulacan, Laguna, Lanao del Norte and Zambales.

However, Batangas and Laguna were still considered high-risk because there were more than 100 new cases per day.

The rest were low-risk. Areas with a daily attack rate not greater than one percent per 1,000 are considered low-risk areas, the group said.

The Department of Health (DOH) 7 recorded 27 new Covid-19 cases in the entire Cebu Island (including Cebu Province and the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu Lapu) on Friday, Oct. 9.

Octa Research’s Oct. 6 report said the number of cases in the country has been decreasing and currently averages around 2,500 new cases daily.

But 17 areas, led by the National Capital Region (NCR), remained at high risk for the disease.

The others were Batangas, Benguet (including Baguio City), Cavite, Davao del Sur (including Davao City), Iloilo (including Iloilo City), Laguna, Misamis Oriental (including Cagayan de Oro), Negros Occidental (including Bacolod), Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Pangasinan (including Dagupan), Rizal, South Cotabato (including General Santos), Surigao del Sur, Western Samar, and Zamboanga del Sur (including Zamboanga City.)

Read: Coronavirus cases declining, but 17 areas remain at high risk

Medium-risk areas, or those with greater than one percent daily attack rate per 1,000 but less than 100 new cases per day, were Agusan del Norte (including Butuan), Bataan, Bulacan, Lanao del Norte (including Iligan), Leyte (including Tacloban), Oriental Mindoro, Pampanga and Zambales.

Octa Research recommended that local governments intensify their efforts at testing, tracing and isolating to reverse the increase in transmission in these areas.

The research team urged national and local governments to strictly monitor and enforce compliance with the prescribed minimum health standards like physical distancing, wearing of masks and face shields and proper hygiene at the community level.

To deal with future surges, the team said government must increase the capacity of the national health care system to deal with potential outbreaks, ensure sufficient testing capability to cope with an expected increase in cases, ensure sufficient personal protective equipment for frontliners, set up more isolation facilities and roll out an effective and aggressive system for contact tracing.

As many of the country’s socio-economic activities resume, Octa Research said the private sector must step up efforts to complement the government’s health and safety initiatives. (WBS)