An independent research group that has been tracking the COVID-19 pandemic has identified Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga City and Bacolod City as “areas of concern” because of a surge in infections there.
“Based on history, we can see these smaller local government units can control the situation faster. It's not necessarily alarming yet," said Guido David of the UP-based OCTA Research Group in an interview with ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
Daily virus cases in Metro Manila have declined to an average of 2,100 from a peak of 5,500, David said, citing a virus reproduction rate of 0.67, and a weekly growth rate of -27 percent.
"We anticipate by next week, by May 14, it might be less than 2,000 cases," he said.
David again called for a gradual easing of quarantine restrictions in the NCR Plus bubble.
More than 7,000 cases logged Sunday
The Philippines logged on Sunday 7,174 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 1,101,990, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
All laboratories were operational and submitted their data on time, the department said.
Some 204 new fatalities were recorded, bringing the death toll from COVID-19 to 18,472, which is 1.68 percent of the total number of cases.
A total of 9,197 persons recently recovered, bringing the total recoveries to 1,022,224, which is 92.8 percent of the total.
The DOH also reported that nationwide, 62 percent of the ICU beds, 44 percent of the isolation beds, 49 percent of the ward beds, and 42 percent of ventilators were in use.
Most NCR Plus cash aid already out
More than 80 percent of local governments in Metro Manila and its nearby provinces have finished distributing the government's cash aid ahead of the deadline, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Sunday.
Eighteen local governments or 80.95 percent have distributed some P18.6 billion to beneficiaries, the department said. Indigent families are qualified to receive up to P4,000 as aid following the strict lockdown imposed in late March.
Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said some local governments were unable to finish distributing the cash assistance because of the huge number of beneficiaries, the large number of appeals undergoing deliberation, the lengthy process of partnering with banks and remittance centers for the payouts, and the difficulty of mobilizing personnel during a pandemic.