The infection rate in Metro Manila continues its slow decline, but the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan and Benguet are seeing an increase in the number of cases, the OCTA Research group said.

In its bulletin dated September 22, Metro Manila reported 4,784 average daily cases during the period of September 15 to 21, which is 18 percent less than the period of September 8 to 14. However, its average daily attack rate remains high at 36.63 cases per 100,000 population.

OCTA senior research fellow Dr. Guido David attributed the decrease to the imposition of modified enhanced community quarantine, or MECQ, on August 20.

He said the downward trend must be sustained to prevent spikes from happening again.

The reproduction number in the National Capital Region is at 1.03, while across the country, it is at 1.09. A reproduction number of 1 means that each infected individual will infect at least one other person, while a reproduction number of 0 means no one gets infected at all.

Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the decrease in cases could be attributed to the increased vaccination level as well as the implementation of the granular lockdown system.

Abalos said the current first dose vaccination is now at 8.52 million, or 87 percent of the total eligible population, while those who had been fully vaccinated is at 6.69 million, equivalent to at least 68 percent of the total eligible population.

"Ang projection namin, one month from now, siguro mga 80.5 percent of Metro Manilans will have two full doses, and by December 20, ang computation namin (Our projection is that one month from now, 80.5 percent of Metro Manila residents will have two full doses, and by December 20, our computation also) is [that around] 90 percent of Metro Manilans will be fully protected," Abalos said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

He claimed that the implementation of the granular lockdown strategy is also working because of the intensified efforts of barangay (village) chiefs to identify areas with high Covid-19 cases.

He said 3,093 areas in Metro Manila are under granular lockdown, most of them in streets or in houses where there are positive Covid-19 cases.

Aside from Metro Manila, OCTA also noted decreases in Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Davao del Sur, Cebu and Iloilo City. It flagged the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan and Benguet as "areas of concern" due to increasing cases and increased hospital utilization.

In the province of Isabela alone, there has been a 158-percent increase in the number of cases during the week of September 15 to 21, while Cagayan and Benguet's hospital care utilization rate is now at 87 percent and 90 percent, respectively.

On Wednesday, the country reported 15,592 new cases of Covid-19, pushing the total to 2.417 million cases.