A study conducted by the University of the Philippines has recommended the shift to a “modified” Community Quarantine for Palawan and the entire MIMAROPA region, including similar provinces throughout the country that had not been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, released on Wednesday by the UP Media and Public Relations Office, described as “a success” the overall implementation of the ECQ, noting that the downward trend on the transmission of the virus at the National Capital Region (NCR) indicated a “flattening” of the pandemic, and predicting it “may soon die out.”

The study proposed the extension of the ECQ in the NCR and other places that had been hit hard by the virus, until such time that the government is able to put in place safety measures including mass testing capacity, it recommended that the lockdown may be lifted in provinces that have been least affected.

For provinces least affected by the virus, the study proposed to resume economic activities “provided that they will continue to restrict the flow of people in and out of its jurisdiction.”

It added however that the lifting of the ECQ in such provinces should be preceded by putting in place “mass testing facilities”, an effective and efficient contact tracing system, and an adequate hospital capacity.

The provinces where the ECQ may be relaxed should also show a declining trend of new cases for a period of at least two weeks even without mass testing.

Apart from Palawan which the study recommended for a “modified ECQ” may be put in place, the other areas identified were: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Camarines Sur, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon.

The full study, authored by Guido David, PhD.; Ranjit Singh Rye, MPA and Ma. Patricia Agbulos, MBM. may be viewed at the following link:https://www.up.edu.ph/covid-19-forecasts-in-the-philippines-insights-for-policy-making-updated-as-of-april-22-2020/?fbclid=IwAR1aWXWg25maBvwZs5aA0AbSBM6bZrkEEMWozCyqrvtty4bbO-0x1JYxV_8