STOCK COVID-19 Testing Philippines
File photo shows medical frontliner Erika Alvarado conducting a COVID-19 test on a patient who just delivered a baby outside a hospital in Manila, Philippines . Image Credit: AP

Manila: The coronavirus has been ripping through communities outside Metro Manila in the last few days, with some provinces reporting more than 300% spike in new COVID-19 infections.

There's some good news: fresh cases are down by 20% in the Philippine capital on Friday (January 21, 2021).

Cases in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan are rising "exponentially", local health authorities said. After a huge spike in cases in the capital, there has been steady decrease in COVID-19 infections in Metro Manila, which is comprised of 16 cities and one municipality.

Chinese New Year celebrations cancelled

On Friday, the Manila City government announced that festivities and celebrations related to the Chinese New Year on 1 February has been cancelled.

Dr. Guido David, a government consultant and fellow of OCTA Research, a Manila-based think-tank and consulting firm, cited that outside “NCR Plus”, cases had jumped from less than 4,000 on January 12 to almost 12,000 on January 20 — a 300% increase in just 8 days.

On Friday, cases and the so-called average daily attack rate (ADAR) in the provinces of Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Northern Samar jumped more than 200%.

The so-called “NCR National Capital Region) Plus” is composed of Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna.

A surge was also seen by the Department of Health (DOH) on January 18 with health officials saying that while there were provinces with lower COVID-19 cases than “NCR Plus”, swift increases in infections were observed in all provinces.

Dr David, a biomechanics and mathematical modeling expert, identified the areas with the most new COVID-19 cases on Friday: Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Cebu, Rizal, Bulacan, Batangas, Davao del Sur, Iloilo, Pampanga, Benguet, and Misamis Oriental.

The other provinces with notable spikes in cases were Isabela, Pangasinan, Negros Occidental, Bataan, Zamboanga del Sur, Cagayan, Leyte, and Camarines Sur.

As of Friday, the Philippines has 275,364 active COVID-19 cases.