THE National Capital Region (NCR), considered the epicenter of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in the Philippines, continued to see improvement as it was down to "moderate" risk classification Friday, September 24.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the downward trend in Covid-19 cases seen in Metro Manila in recent days has resulted in the downgrading of NCR’s risk classification.
"We are seeing that, in the NCR, we are seeing a slow downward trend in cases. We can see that cases are going down," said Vergeire.
"The seven-day moving average shows a slight decrease as cases in the region in the recent seven days have decreased compared to the previous seven days," she added.
The health official said the growth rate in Metro Manila is now down to negative one percent, from 34 percent two weeks ago.
The average daily attack rate per 100,000 population was at 36.59, down from the previous 37.11.
Vergeire said the downward trend may partly be attributed to the shift in the quarantine restrictions policy of the government.
But she believes it is still too early to use the trend as basis to evaluate the new scheme involving granular lockdowns.
"It is still too short of a time for us to give appropriate recommendation if we can already roll this scheme out to the rest of the country," said Vergeire.
She also said that they are also looking at the recent decrease in the laboratory outputs of NCR Covid-19 laboratories.
The decrease, she added, could be due to the increase in the use of rapid antigen tests.
"We are coordinating with the MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) and local governments to see why there is a decrease in the output. Is it because of the rapid antigen test, or they just can't find any cases?" said Vergeire.
Still, the DOH said it does not want to become complacent and immediately further ease restrictions in Metro Manila.
This, as they will need to see other data and analysis of the Covid-19 numbers in the NCR.
"We need to be very sure before we announce it to the public. This is so we won't misguide or mislead our public. We should base everything on our data," said Vergeire. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)