MANILA, July 28 (Mabuhay) — The OCTA Research group on Tuesday recommended a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in the National Capital Region (NCR) as it recorded an average of almost 1,000 cases daily amid the threat of the more infectious Delta variant.

During the Laging Handa briefing, Dr. Guido David said the reproduction number of NCR has climbed to 1.33. A reproduction number of one or higher is an indication of the continuous transmission of the virus.

“[Ang suggestion] ng OCTA, we should adopt what Australia and New Zealand are doing now, which is basically, go early and go hard,” Professor Ranjit Rye, meanwhile, said.

“Ibig sabihin, mayroon tayong anticipatory, preventive, circuit [-breaker] lockdowns po na ang tingin namin, kung gagawin natin ito over the next two weeks,” he added.

Rye said the two-week lockdown would buy time for the government’s vaccination drive to “kick in.”

“Para tayong nagre-race, inuunahan natin ‘yung Delta. Para tayong nasa Olympics; ang laban natin ‘yung Delta tsaka ‘yung bakuna. So we’re trying to buy time for the vaccination program to finally kick in and make us more resilient,” Rye said.

(It’s like we’re in a race against Delta. It’s like we’re in the Olympics, the game is between Delta and vaccination.)

According to Rye, the NCR’s reproduction number had dropped to 0.6 last month.

“Mabilis na ho kumakalat. So ang panawagan namin… is mag-ingat po tayo. Hindi po puwedeng magpabaya o magkumpiyansa kasi itong Delta variant na ito, mabilis ho talaga siya kumalat,” he said.

The Philippines has recorded a total of 119 cases of the Delta variant.

Rye said hospitals will feel the surge should daily cases in the NCR increase to 2,000.

“Nasa isang libo na po ang kaso natin. Kapag lumampas tayo ng dalawang libo po, mararamdaman na po talaga ng ating mga ospital [ang surge],” he said.

If the Philippines fails to control the spread of the Delta variant, Rye warned that the country will suffer the same fate as its neighbors.

“Hindi pa tayo tiyak na Delta ito but we can almost assume that it is. Kung Delta talaga ito, makakakita tayo ng explosion very soon po. At ‘yung explosion na ‘yan kapag hindi natin maagapan ‘yan mawawalan tayo ng control,” he said.

“Magiging kagaya tayo ng mga karatig natin na bayan na talagang hirap na hirap na halos durugin ho ng Delta ‘yung healthcare system,” he added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday agreed with OCTA Research’s recommendation to implement “circuit breakers” amid the local transmission of the Delta variant.

He added, however, that such measures still need to be discussed by medical experts and the government’s inter-agency COVID-19 task force, which will convene on Tuesday.

The Philippines has logged a total of 1,555,396 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 1,473,009 have recovered and 27,247 have died. (MNS)

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