GCQ extension for NCR Plus recommended

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The research group monitoring the coronavirus disease 2010 (Covid-19) in the Philippines recommended on Monday the extension of the general community quarantine (GCQ) “with restrictions” over Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna – collectively known as NCR Plus.

“Given the downward trends, further calibrated easing of restrictions for certain businesses can be considered provided these establishments comply with health and safety protocols of the government,” OCTA Research fellow Ranjit Rye said in a message to reporters.

“Further, the national government needs to accelerate the implementation of the NCR Plus vaccination plan,” he added.

Unless extended, the NCR Plus is under GCQ with restrictions only until June 15.

In its monitoring report released on Monday, the group noted Dumaguete City as the area of most serious concern outside the NCR Plus.

Dumaguete’s one-week growth rate is 129 percent and its average daily attack rate (ADAR) is 69.85 percent per 100,000 individuals. This classifies Dumaguete as ‘extremely high risk’.

Considering high ADAR, high hospital occupancy, and increasing cases, the group tagged Iloilo City, Butuan City, Tacloban City, and Polomolok, South Cotabato as areas of concern.

It added the emerging hotspots due to their ‘very high’ ADAR and rapid one-week growth rates include Tagum City, Legazpi City, and Tagbilaran City.

Meanwhile, the intensive care unit occupancy is at critical levels – above 85 percent – in Davao City, Iloilo City, General Santos City, Tuguegarao City, and Koronadal City.

“The consensus in OCTA is that stricter quarantines are needed in the hotspots identified to slow down the surge in cases. Moreover, the national government needs to do more to support efforts to expand hospital capacity in the hotspots in Visayas and Mindanao,” he added.

Rye also urged all local government units to continue enhancing their screening and quarantine procedures and regulations and other border controls to stop the spread of the virus within and among provinces.

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