Should NCR extend ECQ? CSSD Professor recommends extension

Emy Ruth Gianan, News, Communication Management Office

The National Capital Region (NCR) needs to extend the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) according to Dr. Ricardo L. Dizon, a professor from the University’s Department of Economics, and the Institutional Planning Office under the Office of the Vice President for Research, Extension and Development (OVPRED). 

In his paper titled: “The Heterogenous Age-Mixing Pattern of Estimating the Covid-19 Cases of Different Local Government Units in the National Capital Region,” Dr. Dizon said that the transmission of the coronavirus in NCR is based on contact, mixing patterns and mobilization. He categorized the population into four transmission structures: mobile workers or those who are exempted from the ECQ, workers under strict home quarantine, senior citizens (I.e. ages 60 and above), and the young age group (I.e. ages 16 and below). 

According to his paper, in the absence of ECQ, the probability of transmitting the viral disease in the NCR across mobile workers is at 100%, while workers and senior citizens at 99.49%, and the young age group at 64.01%. But with the ECQ, the data from March 17 to April 19 shows that the chances of transmitting the virus dropped to an average of 0.39% for the worker groups, 4.50% for senior citizens, and 0.80% for the young age groups. Data limitations did not permit the researcher from forecasting the chances of transmission for persons who are immuno-compromised or those with underlying medical conditions regardless of age group. 

Dr. Dizon notes in his paper that by the end of April 2020, COVID-19 cases in NCR would reach 7,000 amid ECQ. This is much lower compared to the initial forecast of 900,000 cases if the extension had been lifted on the original April 14 deadline. He emphasized that most of the LGUs in NCR are moving closer to consistent zero transmission rate particularly in the group of mobile workers. A possible explanation for this is that they have adopted to the “new normal” after five weeks of ECQ implementation. This includes the habit of wearing protective masks, ensuring physical distancing, and frequent hand washing. 

His forecast expects that the curve for mobile workers would flatten first, followed by the other group of workers who are under strict quarantine, senior citizens, and the young age group. Meanwhile, Quezon City would have a different order of flattening the curve: mobile workers would still flatten first, this time followed by the young age group, workers under strict quarantine, and then senior citizens. In Manila, mobile workers are followed by senior citizens, the young age group, and then workers under strict quarantine. 

Two more weeks after the April 30 deadline would be necessary to completely attain a flatter curve for NCR. Based on his model, LGUs which are expected to flatten the curve by the second week of May are Las Pinas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Muntinlupa, Marikina, Pasay, Pasig, Pateros, Quezon City, Taguig, and Valenzuela. Four other LGUs namely, Caloocan, Navotas, Paranaque, and San Juan would flatten the curve later, until the last week of May.  

After the period of a flattened curve, there is a recovery period of seven (7) days to 45 days. Factoring this, LGUs that attained a flat curve by the second week of May will reach a state of equilibrium (I.e. the state of zero transmission rate – the number of cases coincides with the number of recovered cases and deaths) by the last week of June. Those LGUs which reached a flat curve by the end of May would reach the equilibrium state by the end of July. However, Pasig City which has a low recovery rate associated with long recovery period would reach its equilibrium state by the first week of August. Additional quarantine period of 14 days may be further necessary to ensure that recovered patients would not relapse. Factoring these into the scenario, NCR would be cleared from the disease by late August. Until then, the ECQ would have to remain. 

He specifically recommended the following in his paper: 

  1. At least a two-week extension of the ECQ in NCR is needed. Thereafter, a general community quarantine (GCQ) may be implemented for LGUs that have already attained a state of equilibrium. 
  2. The opening of classes for all levels in private and public educational institutions across NCR should be done after LGUs have reached a state of equilibrium. Thus, it would be prudent to open classes by September to prevent a second wave of infections similar to Singapore and South Korea. 

A full copy of Dr. Dizon’s paper may be accessed through Research Gate. For correspondence and direct queries regarding the study, you may contact the author through email: ### 

View more news and articles...
Other News and Articles RSS Feed RSS Feed
Share this page: