The number of new COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is expected to drop to less than 1,000 by the end of February if the current trend of decreasing cases continues, according to analytics group OCTA Research.
Inquirer reports that the most recent number of new cases in Metro Manila was lower compared to earlier figures predicted by OCTA. The group says that the reproduction number of COVID cases dipped to 0.71 from 0.91.
The reproduction number is the average number of new cases that can be traced to one positive case. Guido David, a research fellow at OCTA, noted that the best reproduction number is less than one which demonstrates decreased transmission.
At the current reproduction rate, David says that new cases in the capital region may drop to less than 1,000 per day by February 14 and less than 500 by the end of February.
Early this month, OCTA projected an average of 2,500 to 3,000 cases per day towards the end of January, and David says the current number of new cases are right in the middle of this projected range. Metro Manila recorded a total of 2,751 new cases out of 17,677 additional infections in the Philippines on Tuesday.
The entire country has a total of 247,451 active COVID-19 cases as of writing, while Metro Manila has 63,044 active cases.
Booster Vaccine Rollouts and Alert Level Restrictions Manage Rising Infections
In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases and the threat of the Delta and Omicron variants, the government has doled out several measures to help manage rising infections.
Chief among these efforts is the rollout of booster jabs through vaccine drives. The most recent large-scale vax event was held on Monday in the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) for transport workers and commuters. First and second doses were also administered to qualified individuals.
The Manila Times reported that select commercial drugstores and private clinics have also been converted into vaccination sites for COVID-19 booster shots.
The country’s alert level system, which was put in place last September, is another step the government has taken to minimize the spread of the virus.
According to an article published by PhilStar, the system takes into account the hospital bed utilization rate, virus transmission rate, and intensive care utilization rate of any particular municipality or city.
Rather than region-wide lockdowns, only granular lockdowns and strict mobility restrictions are placed on specific areas where cases are high.
Currently, Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 until the end of January, as reported by Rappler. Under this alert status, gatherings for funerals, wakes, necrological services, and inurnment are allowed. Interzonal and intrazonal travel is also allowed.
Activities not allowed under Alert Level 3 include face-to-face classes, contact sports, and live voice/wind instrument concerts. Cinemas, social events, recreational facilities, and tourist attractions are limited to 50% outdoor venue capacity and 30% indoor capacity.
Downward Trend of Cases Spell Good News for Property Market
In the same article, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the spokesperson for the Department of Health, says that higher vaccination rates have prevented the rise of deaths or severe cases due to COVID-19.
In line with OCTA’s projections, these conditions have allowed for more lenient mobility restrictions, better management of COVID surges, and the continual recovery of the local property market.
As more businesses reopen and workers return to physical offices, the continued demand for affordable rentals near mass transportation hubs and central business districts, as observed in Lamudi’s most recent trend report, is seen to remain until the foreseeable future. The appetite for office spaces may also rebound for the same reason.
These circumstances also spell a favorable outcome for the Philippine property market’s projected bull cycle, which is expected to kick off this year and last for at least twenty years.
Sources: Inquirer, The Manila Times, PhilStar, Rappler
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