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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Feared Delta variant can be contained by hard lockdown, says OCTA Research

Possible COVID-19 surge to hit NCR by mid-August

MANILA – A two-week “Circuit Breaker” which means hard lockdown may be needed in the densely populated National Capital Region to prevent a possible surge in COVID-19 incidents due to the dreaded Delta variant.

OCTA Research experts with Dominican Missionary and OCTA Fellow Dr. Nicanor Austriaco said their projections are based on the Delta variant incidents in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“The surge will begin to impact the healthcare system in the National Capital Region by mid-August this year,” Fr. Austriaco said. He added as soon as the Delta-surge begins, it will be in “an explosive fashion.”

He expressed concern that no ASEAN country has been successful in putting a stop to the Delta-surge sans hard lockdown in major cities.

Fr. Austriaco, a molecular biologist, said the Delta variant has 1,000 more virus load than the COVID-19 variant from Wuhan.

“A person with Delta variant can infect five to 8 people compared with a person with the Wuhan variant who can infect 2-3 persons,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prof. Guido David, OCTA Research Fellow, said there is a surge in cases in the National Capital Region as it remains one of the high-risk areas with Cebu and Mandaue cities where reproductive level of cases is “very high.”

High-risk areas include Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Laoag and Bacoor cities.

“Davao remains a high risk area, as we are not seeing a downward trend,” Prof. David added. He explained any further delay in a circuit breaker hard lockdown will result in high case load more than 2,500 per day for the remainder of the month of August.

OCTA Research calls on government to further accelerate the vaccination drive, specifically in the NCR and the ten nearby areas alongside imposition of strict health protocols.

In another development, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion III said the government need not delay the proposed two-week hard lockdown to stem the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

This was his reaction to a statement made earlier by OCTA Research which underscored the need for strictest quarantine restrictions for COVID-19.

Conception said the goal was to “save our fourth quarter, or else, the entire year will be destroyed for many, especially the MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises.” The peak demand season begins in October, the beginning of the fourth quarter. (Melo M. Acuña)

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP. (File Photo/Melo M. Acuña)

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